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Face-to-face English classes vs online, which one to choose?

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Teacher Smiling at Her Students

(Photo : Tima Miroshnichenko)

Although studying languages can be a huge step to improving a professional career, it can also help when socializing with people from other countries or enjoying travel experiences. Luckily, it is becoming easier when it comes to choosing ways to learn other languages.

Virtual courses and apps for studying English have recently gained popularity, especially after the pandemic. However, live classes haven't lost any relevance and are still considered by most as the best way to learn a language.

Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. Let's compare them to help you choose the one that best suits your needs.

Face-to-face classes

Pros

They're led by certified teachers

Even though many people speak the language, they don't necessarily know how to teach the language. When taking face-to-face English classes, you know that the person that's in front of the classroom has experience in that field.

Conversation-oriented classes

Many language schools have special classes which are 100% dedicated to improving conversational skills. In these cases, classmates talk to each other under the supervision of the teacher who helps students fine tune their speaking skills in order to have better exchanges amongst themselves.

Certifications

Many language schools prepare their students for a certification test that will test their skills in speaking, reading, writing, listening, writing and pronunciation. The most common English language proficiency tests are IELTS and TOEFL. IELTS is from England and has both a general and academic version. TOEFL is from the USA and is mostly used for college and university admission.

Cons

Face-to-face classes

The one thing that characterizes these classes might be the one thing that turns some people off. As many people are trying to shift their work to a home-based job, the idea of going to a classroom might not be attractive to everyone.

Classes are not personalized.

Not all people learn at the same speed rate. Face-to-face classes are usually prepared by units divided into themes, which means that if a student gets behind because they don't understand one of the subjects given, it might drag the rest of the classroom down. A personalized class can help someone to learn at their own rhythm.

Fixed timetables

Though many language schools offer options for their classes, there's a chance that not all people can fit the classes into their schedules. This might lead to a student abandoning their English classes, not because of lack of interest, but because they can't work their schedule around the classroom hours.

Online classes

Pros

You can take them from home

One of the advantages of virtual classes is that you don't need to leave your home to take them. Many people struggle to coordinate work and personal life, so they don't want to add more activities to a busy schedule. Online classes only require a device (a laptop, a smartphone, or a tablet) and a stable internet connection and you can have your lessons from the comfort of your sofa or desk.

Flexible schedule

Both language apps and some English courses do not require a fixed schedule. This can be the best option for someone with little time available.

Costs

Although the price of virtual classes can be similar to that of a face-to-face course, most language learning apps are free since they have advertising. Even paying for a premium version or plan, the price is still usually lower than that of a live class.

Cons

You do it in your own

Although online classes have dashboards or chat rooms where you can connect with other students, the truth is that you are taking the lessons by yourself. When you have face-to-face classes you can talk to other people in the same room, helping you to greatly improve your speaking skills.

You depend on your devices

As online classes require both a device and a good internet connection, if you don't have either, you will have problems connecting and having your lesson.

There's a chance you won't complete your course

Learning is a matter of patience and practice. If you don't have patience or the time to practice, a virtual class might not be a good fit for you. In addition, many people quit online language courses because they get in the habit of not attending classes.

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