When it comes to choosing the best way to learn a foreign language, you must understand that there are multiple ways to learn foreign languages. However, not all language schools are equal. While you can learn some parts of a new language from most schools or ESL courses, you will quickly come to find there is a big difference between language “training” and language “teaching”.
Washington language school, inlingua®, recognizes it is much more effective to learn a foreign language with a language trainer rather than a language teacher. Using the signature inlingua® method, students develop their skills with trainers who develop their language abilities instead of with a teacher who simply gives information.
1. Teachers Translate While Trainers Use the Target Language
It is common for teachers to translate new words or sentences for students when they seem hesitant. This is a clear sign you are learning from a teacher rather than a trainer. This is because a teacher uses a strict form of instruction that allows little room for students to learn freely through conversation. When learning a new language, it is normal and expected to make mistakes. Some teachers, however, try to help their students avoid these mistakes by translating for them.
On the opposite side, trainers use the target language throughout their time with students. Rather than translating words for students, these trainers simply model the language for students through their dialogue, giving examples that build on what the student knows
rather than translations to the student’s native language.
The inlingua® Method, which utilizes language trainers, is specifically designed to optimize the language training experience and has proven to be more effective at developing deeper language fluency faster than traditional teacher-based and textbook-based methods.
2. Teachers Use Textbooks While Trainers Encourage Students to Speak the Language
Walk past a traditional English class and you will see a room full of students looking down at their textbooks hoping to learn a new language from a book. This forces students to memorize words and grammatical conventions rather than practicing and experiencing how the language is used in everyday conversation. For example, some teachers simply open a page in a textbook and discuss lists and charts while students passively follow along.
When we think of a classroom, many people imagine a teacher giving information, then assigning paper-based worksheets, and then testing knowledge through multiple choice or fill-in-the-blank tests. On the other hand, when we think of training—whether it is a sport, a job, or for a new skill—we picture performing the actual activity until we have mastered it.
The same is true with language training. Effective training involves the student in the active use of the language through the training session. For example, inlingua® is a global leader in this highly-effective form of language training, setting the standard with students speaking 80% of the time and trainers serving as guides and coaches. When you are actively engaged in open conversation, learning and mastering new language skills, rather than staring silently at a page in a book, you know you are in true language training.
3. Teachers Talk About the Language While Trainers Help Students Experience It
Inexperienced teachers overwhelm and confuse students with charts, lists, and tables without exposing the student to real-life examples of the structures in common daily scenarios. For instance, in this type of instruction, students do not learn cultural idioms or learn how language shifts depending on the conversational tone.
However, effective trainers give their students maximum exposure to increasingly complex structures so that the student intuitively learns the patterns in a natural way. An effective language trainer—just like an on-the-job trainer—coaches the student through a strategically designed series of experiences that enable the students to naturally experience and learn the meaning of words and the grammatical structures of the language.
Let’s consider an example. A foreign language student wants to learn how to communicate effectively in the workplace. A teacher would walk the student through textbook style examples, whereas a trainer would allow the student to experience business conversations by modeling these conversations with maximum student participation. Teachers talk about the language, whereas trainers give students firsthand experience with the language.
Plus, it is simply more fun to learn the language through an authentic experience! Language schools in Washington, DC, such as inlingua®, not only offer students the ability to learn a new language, they also offer students a true immersive language experience. Schools that use trainers rather than teachers make this even truer.
4. Teachers Occasionally Test While Trainers Identify Errors as They Occur
Teachers tend to convey information for long periods and then later evaluate students’ knowledge through more artificial and theoretical test formats. This form of learning relies heavily on memorization rather than language practice.
On the other hand, language trainers encourage students to speak the language 80% of the time and are constantly identifying and correcting student errors. If you desire to develop deeper English fluency faster, you should expect a skilled trainer to immediately correct your use of the language to enable you to reinforce competent language skills from the beginning.
Furthermore, the best language schools also help prepare students for rigorous language tests. Inlingua® also operates an English test center. Pairing their communicative method with test preparation is one of their keys to success.
5. Teachers Start at the Beginning While Trainers Build on Existing Knowledge
Traditional teachers tend to come to class with pre-planned content ready to deliver this information to the students. Teachers tend to teach to a class or group of language learners instead of identifying where each student is beginning. In this case, many students relearn material or end up in a course above their current level.
However, language trainers dig deep to identify current knowledge that students already possess in order to build on those competencies when training for new material. Trainers are always checking with the students to see what words, structures, and grammar are already known so that they can build new skills on the foundation of existing skills. For this reason, trainers are more effective at personalizing instruction.
inlingua® Washington DC is a leader in language training, offering English courses in Washington DC, as well as foreign language training, IELTS and TOEFL test preparation, and a wide variety of private tutoring all based on a true language training model.