English classes for adults: How and what should you choose?

English classes for adults: How and what should you choose?

by Alison Maciejewski Cortez

Updated October 7, 2020

Adult language students are busy. Many of us are working professionals with families. When we choose English classes, we want to make immediate progress, grow in our confidence, and naturally fuel our motivation. Simply put: We don’t have time to waste. 

I say “we” because as a Lingoda writer, I am a language student just like you. I am multilingual and have been studying languages for a long time. I am a native English speaker and fluent in Spanish and Thai as well. After decades of study, I know the best way to choose language courses. Whether you want to take online English lessons or get into a classroom setting, today I am sharing how to choose English language classes for adults.

4 questions for choosing English classes for adults

In my experience, there are four main things that affect how successful your language classes will be. Here is what to ask:

  1. How well does the school meet my needs?
  2. Does it offer flexibility around my schedule?
  3. What type of learning environment is it?
  4. How good is the instruction?

If you check these four answers before choosing your English classes, you can be sure of a good fit.

1. How do these English courses meet my needs?

Unfortunately, I’ve been in bad languages classes. I once spent a year on basic Spanish even though I was an advanced speaker. My mind would wander, I couldn’t focus, and I didn’t improve. Make sure your English classes have the focus you need. 

Some people need general English. This helps you feel confident while travelling. Other people need Business English courses tailored for work settings. This type of class allows professionals to find success at international companies. The best way to meet your needs as a student is to have an initial assessment of your English language ability. Always choose a school that begins with a placement test.

2. How flexible are the English lessons for my schedule?

Adult English language students need flexibility to stay on track with learning and our lives. The best way to learn English is to find a course schedule with flexibility. First, consider the location. Does your school only offer in-person lessons, or do they allow you to learn English from home? Do they have weekend, late-night, or even 24/7 class times?

Second, consider the intensity. Do you need to improve your English in less than 6 months? I like intensive study to prepare for a job or an international move. After moving to the Czech Republic, I took a month of daily language course. These intense “marathon” courses are invaluable because they prepare you for real life demands. Plus, one-time upfront payments let you know the value of your time. Some English language schools even offer students cash back based on how quickly they progress.

3. What is my learning environment?

In our new normal of social distancing, the most popular learning environment is online English classes for adults. This includes one-on-one sessions, web-based classrooms, and mobile apps. Check to see if your online language school offers a range of private and group classes. Remember that just like in-person, large class sizes mean less personal attention. Go with a school that keeps class sizes small. 

Also get an impression of your school’s teaching style. Is it pure memorisation or does the school attempt to make learning English fun? Incorporating English language media into your life helps. For example your school might suggest movies on Netflix or TV programmes to watch. A school focused on real-life language use outside of the classroom is best.

4. How professional are the English instructors at the school?

Finally, make sure the English classes you choose are being taught by native-speaking, qualified teachers. It sounds obvious, but qualified teachers are trained to find what works best for each student. The better your instructors are, the more improvement you will see.

Some schools even offer a certificate of completion. This is great for showing progress. Schools like Lingoda offer international standard certificates so employers can watch your abilities improve on your CV or LinkedIn profile. 

Successful English classes for adults are out there. Remember to choose by asking yourself: Does the school meet my needs? How flexible are the classes? What is my learning environment? And how professional are my instructors? If you are satisfied a school will meet your needs, take the plunge and get started.

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