Individual English tuition - Interview with our English trainers

Are you thinking about taking individual English training to top-up your course in London or online? For some clients, this is the best option. In this blog post, we ask our trainers frequently asked questions about individual English training.

What kind of students choose individual English lessons?

All kinds of students! We have clients from all over the world; from Spain, Italy, France, Brazil, Japan, China, Russia, Norway, Argentina; every year we welcome over 70 different nationalities to our courses Clients vary in age from 20 to 85 years old and they come from a variety of different backgrounds; some are students, some are business people, some are on a sabbatical, and others are aiming to get promoted. Some people are here just for fun and because this is something that they’ve always wanted to do; others because they have moved to London and want to make new friends more easily.

We’ve taught doctors, lawyers, actors, psychologists, journalists, diplomats, members of royal families, and many other people from different walks of life. They all have something  in common. They want to learn something specific, for example, they need help with becoming more fluent, improving their listening skills, their vocabulary and grammar, or they want to practise specific situations for work such as speaking on the telephone in English, negotiating, making presentations and participating in business meetings.

Some people want to learn English for travel, some of them want to improve because they have a job interview coming up or maybe they need to improve because their company’s just been taken over by an English-speaking company. Others just want to come over and see London and have a great experience.

A lot of our students need help with building their confidence, and individual English tuition allows them to develop the confidence they need.

Why would someone want to take individual English tuition when there are group English courses which they can participate in?

Individual tuition gives people a chance to get a lot of attention paid to their individual language needs and it allows them to learn faster and practise more.

A combination course of group classes in the morning with individual tuition in the afternoon is a good option because you get the best of both worlds. During the group class you get the dynamic of a group where you learn with other people and make friends, and in the individual lesson you get the intensity of the one-to one lessons where you can focus entirely on the areas that you find most difficult. 

Do students have any control over what they learn during individual lessons?

Individual tuition is very open, very flexible, and totally depends on the needs and on the objectives of the course participant. The timetable is be completely designed according to your needs and agreed upon by the trainer and the course participant.  All the trainers plan the course around what their clients tell them that they would like to do. Generally, the course content is very open, very fluid. If a client wants to focus more  on practising specific situations which they might encounter at work or in everyday life, we’ll work on those situations until they feel more prepared and more confident to go into them in real life.

What questions do English language learners need to ask themselves if they are considering taking a course of individual tuition?

They have to ask themselves if they are willing to work hard with a trainer to meet their objectives and if they are willing to take responsibility for their learning. Our role as trainers is to give clients the tools they need to become more successful in whatever they want to do, and it’s then up to them to use what we have given them.

Clients should also ask themselves if they’d enjoy the one-to-one dynamic and if they have specific goals or requirements in mind which might not be met in a group class. In individual tuition, the focus is very much on you, which can be very useful if you’re willing to put in the work and use the time well. It is also a professional working relationship between two people from different cultural backgrounds, so that is also something to bear in mind. It can be very stimulating and enriching for both student and trainer. It’s also very important that people are prepared to revise and practise outside the classes themselves.

Can you tell us a story about your experience as an individual English tuition trainer that was particularly memorable?

I once worked with a student from France who needed to pass an English exam to start his new job. He started off quite shy and didn’t say much, and then after three weeks of individual tuition he had improved a great deal and had really come out of his shell.  We’ve since become friends and when I was on the train to France going to a friend’s wedding this summer, he surprised my friend and me by meeting us on the train, speaking to the train manager in French and managed to get us upgraded to first class! He’s told me that he loved individual tuition because it gave him a chance to visit London with a native speaker and develop the confidence he needed for his job. He described it as one of the best times of his life!

What do students say about their experiences of individual tuition?

They generally say that it goes too fast. They say that it’s demanding but very useful because they get to see their mistakes and how they can improve. Most of our students tell us that they practise a lot of what they have learnt when they go back to work or when they go on their business trips.  Another comment we’ve had is that the classes are very friendly and very practical and it feels like a safe place where they can make mistakes. For many people, it’s the first time that an expert Englishspeaker has given them honest and practical advice on how to improve and really listened and analysed their objectives and language needs.  

What are your top tips for learning English?

The main advice we can give to all our students is practise, practise, practise! There is no magic wand or magic formula, it really is about focus and dedication and hard work. There are many good resources online for learning English and for practising, but you always need a real person who you can practise fluency with, somebody who will correct you if you make a mistake. Listening to the advice your trainer gives you and really taking this on board is also very important. Patience is another big one. A lot of people lack patience, they want to learn, and they want to learn now! Learning takes time and you need to remain focused for a relatively long period of time if you want to improve, but everyone can improve if they put the work in.

Glossary:

Different walks of life: different backgrounds, professions, cultures, etc.

Taking [this] on board: accepting something to act on it

Put the work in: to make an effort to succeed in something

This blog has been written at level C1. Practise your reading and listening by reading the blogs below.


About The London School of English

The London School of English has over 100 years of history teaching English and communication skills to adult learners. It is the joint #1 English language school in the UK according to the British Council inspections, the highest rated English language school in the world on Trustpilot, and the best value for money school according The English Language Gazette. 

Our practical, individualised approach enables our clients to learn effectively and make rapid progress. Courses include General English, Individual English training, Legal English, Business and Professional English, IELTS preparation and Academic English. We also offer bespoke business solutions for staff training and assessment. 

You can learn English with our expert trainers in our London centre at 15 Holland Park Gardens, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, or you can choose to study English online in groups or in individual classes. 

Contact us online or via phone +44 (0) 207 605 4142.

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