Every year, thousands of young people come to Great Britain to learn English. They come from a range of backgrounds, and have varying expectations of what their stay in the country will be like. Two things they all have right to expect, however, are that their stay in Great Britain will be reasonably enjoyable, and that they will return to their countries speaking English a lot better than when they left them. How can a language school ensure that these expectations are not disappointed?
Clearly, the first objective is that what students do in the classroom should improve their English. First of all, the teachers should be capable and qualified. That is to say, they should know what the students need to learn, and be able to help them learn it. On top of that, a good language school should provide students with efficient material to work with. Lastly, a school ought to try to keep up with technological developments in language learning, in order to be able to offer these facilities to students.
The second question is school facilities. Apart from good-sized classrooms, the school must offer a comfortable place for students to meet and talk between lessons. Furthermore, it is convenient for students if the school provides meals, coffee and so on. Some schools even contain a bar for socializing among students and stuff.
The final way in which good language schools can help students is by making sure that they enjoy themselves outside schooltime. The most important question here is accommodation, and a responsible school will not only find students somewhere to stay, but also take care that accommodation continues to meet high standards. In addition, it is part of a school’s responsibilities to inform students about places to go in the town, so that students don’t sit at home all the time. Last but not least, in one or two very good schools there is a welfare officer, whose job is to look after the well-being of students, and o give advice when needed.
Few English language schools meet all these requirements, and one cannot expect the cheaper ones to do so. However, any school that meets most of them is doing a pretty good job.
From ‘Nexus’ English for advanced learners by Martin Mills.