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The risks with self-learning languages.

When learning a language, a fair amount of effort must be done on your own, otherwise, the learning progress will be slower. The work done outside of class time is crucial.

But there is a difference between learning a language with a teacher, doing additional exercises, usually provided by the teacher, and learning a language alone.

Why not do your learning on your own? With the multitude of options online, why work with a teacher? There are grammar sites, podcasts, YouTube channels, Facebook groups, conversation clubs, learning apps, and so on. So, what is the benefit of paying a teacher?

A while back, I was reading an article saying the future of the Internet will be over-information. I this is where we are. Faced with all these choices, it is almost impossible to know which are good for you or even plain good. You must know the language well enough to tell the difference between what is useful and what is not, or what is useful, but not for your level.

Because even our teachers use some of these resources in planning and delivering their courses, but they know which resources to use when and with what goal. This is one of the reasons to learn with a teacher. Think of it as a trainer who adjusts your exercise regiment based on what you did, the sport you play, the goals you have, and your timeline.

We are of course talking about personalization. With online tools, you will have access to the theory, but not to the personalization usually done during conversational activities when we put everything into practice. Personalization is at the heart of Langage d'ici's values. I have questions from time to time about the books we use. Usually, learners are surprised to learn that we gave up using textbooks several years ago (we still use books for lesson preparation). The reason is simple; with all the options online, why have a rigid structure (textbooks), when a professional teacher knows how to develop a personalized course plan to meet his/her classes' objectives using his/her experience, his/her training (university studies and relevant training) and online resources.

Another essential element in language acquisition is time. Although I see advertisements like "learn a language in 1 month" or "learn English in only a few minutes a day" or even "learn a language while you sleep", our experience has shown us that the acquisition of a language is made over time. A lot of time. Continuing with our sports analogy, if your objective is to get back into shape, you go to the store, buy sneakers, and start jogging every morning. There will certainly be a benefit within a few weeks of starting your new resolution. But most of the gains will be made over the next few months, sometimes the next few years; real progress comes from consistency. Here is another benefit of using a teacher. The "motivation" aspect. As with jogging, one of the best ways to stay on track is with a group or a personal trainer. Running every morning is not easy and several much more "important" factors may break the routine: it is raining, the children are late, I am hurting, I do feel like it, etc. But with a group or a personal trainer, it is hard to say no when the person is at the door. The same thing with languages; missing a class is something we want to avoid, and it keeps us on the learning path. Even if sometimes we do not feel like we are moving forward.

In addition, there is a ripple effect with the other members of the group. Everyone learns, encourages each other, and puts their pride aside; we all make mistakes. Seeing others do it encourages us to do it ourselves.

Lastly, a teacher will let you speak but will review the areas you need to pay attention to as a learner. Which means you will not go too far with your mistakes. This facet is particularly important, and it is the reason why we have a level called "corrective". Learners of the corrective level will have learned the language on their own, and will have developed bad habits; always speaking in the past or always using the conditional, etc. This general level is difficult since you must unlearn and relearn the right structures. A great deal of effort must be put into "reprogramming" the way you speak.

So far, nothing can replace a good, well-prepared teacher. Both in terms of personalization, motivation, and in avoiding learning errors.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me.