You just heard about how to lose weight in 3 days, pump up the old-fashioned way in a month and, of course, learn English in 2 weeks. For some reason, many people think that they will be able to learn what others spend half a year or more on such courses. It is time to discuss this format of training, its benefit or harm, the possible results.
Intensive - Pros and Cons
Let us, for a start, define what is intensive in terms of learning English. These are such courses that are available in any school of English, and we are not an exception. As a rule, they last 1-2 months for 4-6 lessons per week and from 2 to 6 (yes!) Hours per day.
We decompose their advantages:
- short time;
- high intensity, and as a result, more rapid and constant immersion into the language environment;
- noticeable result after a relatively short time (as a rule).
This is not advertising of such courses - the results are achieved if everything is built methodologically correctly and the load is distributed evenly or incrementally.
Cons, of which a lot:
- the need for frequent and long attend classes;
- insufficient amount of rest between classes;
- insufficient attention from the teacher due to group format;
- bias in speaking and lack of time for a more detailed study of phonetics or other aspects of the language;
- a lot of work in the classroom and at home;
- demotivation due to a large number of errors in a short time (and you remember that it takes time to form new neurons and to securely fix information in our brain).
To make it clearer, let's draw an analogy with the study of C ++ and a person who has just graduated from the university. Imagine that he has found a vacancy for a programmer of his dream, and you can only apply for a vacancy in the coming month!
And now he is already conducting studies of variables and constants, streams, pointers, and so on, 6 days a week, working 2-3 hours at a time, studying dozens or even hundreds of pages of material and doing a bunch of practical exercises (well, if they do given in the course). At the same time, the quality of knowledge that it receives is relatively low, because there is no time to explain, you need to do more and quickly, and understanding of C ++ will come later!
What is the result? A certain goal has been achieved, a lot of energy has been spent and the person has undergone quite stressful conditions due to the abundant workload in a short time. But it turned out just to remember how to crack simple programs and sites, because there were practical tasks on this topic.
But will such knowledge remain in the head over the next two or three weeks? Or do you have to make constant efforts to keep even such a small achievement?
So we smoothly approached the definition of the goals of intensives - a small amount of information in a short time, which will not last in memory without a constant load. In addition, before the intensive it is better to have a certain training, otherwise there will be a serious “cracking” from the habit.
This does not mean that there is no practical benefit from the intensives. Just have a clear and narrow specificity:
- prepare for an interview;
- improve your presentation, improve your vocabulary before going to Thailand;
- repeat simple times or any other particular aspect;
- overcome the language barrier, because the practice will be forced to a lot.
Intensives - Alternatives
For any more voluminous or long-term goal, such as passing the whole level of Pre-Intermediate English, standard courses are more suitable - from 5 months to 1 year. Here are the main reasons why:
- sufficient regularity for the organism to be productive and have time to rest;
- the ability to increase or decrease the intensity if necessary;
- higher level of motivation, as the number of errors decreases per week, month, etc .;
- less information per study per week and easier understanding as a result;
- the ability to repeat and consolidate material that is difficult to give;
- longer terms for understanding the work of the language as a whole and getting to know the new culture that the language carries;
- the opportunity to enjoy the learning process, receiving the necessary feedback and enough attention from the teacher.
Such courses are perfect for everyone - both beginners without prior training and those who have a base, wanting to improve their level and get a conscious, long-term result.
For all those who, nevertheless, need everything at once, but in order not to be so painful, there is a good alternative. It is, in fact, something between an intensives and the usual tutoring activities — individual intensives via Skype. Judge for yourself, there are a lot of advantages:
- saving time;
- personalization as an individual student;
- a sufficient amount of attention for the student;
- lower cost.
The disadvantage is that communication will take place only with one teacher and there will be no opportunity to talk with other students, therefore the language barrier will be overcome longer. And, again, these are all the same short-term tasks, just in a more convenient format.
Intensive - conclusions
What we have in the end:
- intensives are useful for certain aspects of the language;
- Intensives are perfect for interviews, presentations and other short-term tasks;
- on them it is easier to overcome the language barrier;
- they do not provide a comprehensive understanding of the work of the language due to the lack of time and attention of the teacher.
It turns out that you need to go to intensives with a clear and short-term goal, for other cases you should pay attention to full-fledged courses - individually or as a group.
If you are convinced that during the intensive period you will pass a whole level from scratch, you shouldn’t believe it, since the quality of such courses is definitely low. Judge for yourself, quite a lot of people are joining the courses, they are united into large groups and we create a psychological effect of excitement - as if everyone needs these courses and there is simply no end to the customers.
From the point of view of sales, everything is also clear - more people, more money, even if at the expense of the quality of such classes, at which earning the teacher’s attention is still a task. From a pedagogical point of view, everything is also quite simple - there is a noticeable short-term and point effect in the form of separate topics on vocabulary or grammar, but in no way a comprehensive understanding of the language system.
What is the conclusion? Of course, choosing the format and timing of training is your personal choice. We just recommend to take it as a rule to devote 5 to 15 minutes of time per day to English classes on our own, in order to constantly be in good shape and not lose the acquired skills, in addition to regular regular classes with a teacher. In case you have not studied English, we advise you to start practicing today and then you simply will not need intensives!
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