Many students come to Britain to study in an English language school but the quality can vary a lot. Find out how to choose a good school.
What you need to check
It is important to find out what courses the schools offer. You should check how many weeks you need to book. In many language schools you have to book for a minimum of 2 weeks and the school may not be open all year. You should also check that a language school will usually provide a social programme for the evenings and the weekends.
It is extremely important to make sure that a school uses properly qualified teachers and is accredited by the British Council. An excellent idea is to check the British Council’s report on the school with you can find here http://www.britishcouncil.org/accreditation-az-list.htm.
You can ask how many Cambridge DELTA or Trinity DipTESOL-qualified teachers the school has. If more than 30% of the teachers are DELTA or DipTESOL qualified, this is usually a good sign.
You should also ask how many students there are in a class. I recommend 12 as a maximum. If there are more than 12, the teacher does not have time to give much individual attention and the teaching room may be too small.
Many language schools are large businesses with schools in many cities and countries. In my experience, smaller schools often give you a higher standard of teaching. Remember that very cheap schools often have too many students in each class or many students from a particular country or use host families who may not be very interested in their guests. As always, very cheap is not usually best.
In some language schools it is possible to arrange 1-1 lessons in the language school but this can be very expensive (around £60 per hour). This might be an option for students whose fees are being paid by their company but is usually too expensive for most students.
Sometimes you can choose a combination of 1-1 lessons and group lessons. If you decide you want to go to a language school in Oxford, I can recommend a school with an excellent British Council report. Please contact me for details.
However, if you only have a short time to study or you are working and have limited time to study, independent 1-1 lessons can be the answer.
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