How to make the most of distance learning
by Claire Jaynes
Here at Trebinshun House, students have been visiting us for over forty years to take part in our intensive programmes. We have offered distance lessons for some time (often by phone) but did you know we also offer lessons online? These can serve as a useful bridge between courses or they can be an introduction to our teaching methods. Technology has improved to the extent where we can simulate the face-to-face contact (but unfortunately without access to Ken’s food!). Let’s look at the ways to maximise the benefits of distance learning.
Distance learning is a very flexible way to study as you are able to choose when and where you study - from home, in the office, or anywhere in the world! You can fit your study around your other commitments and use your laptop, tablet or even smartphone. You can work your lesson into your schedule – lunchtime slots of around 30 minutes are our most requested option. There would typically be an agreed focus which you can prepare before the session; your teacher will then guide you and give you feedback (just like at Trebinshun).
2. Maintain your progress
Many of our students have busy working lives and find it difficult to find time for more than one or two weeks a year for an intensive course with us in Wales. However, committing to a regular session (or even two) per week, allows you to continue the work from your intensive course and maintain a regular language practice. You may have already discussed this with your teachers whilst studying with us, especially if you have built up a good rapport in the classroom. Distance lessons can provide you with an opportunity to prepare for a particular project such as a conference or an important presentation. You may simply want to maintain your level and research shows that regular practice is essential for doing that and depending on your available time, you may even increase your level.
3. Real-life practice
Many of our students work for international companies where they frequently need to handle video conferences or phone calls. Practising with the support of your teacher, using the same tools as you do in your everyday working life means that speaking English on the phone or via Skype becomes second nature – you feel more confident and comfortable in all scenarios and situations. With fewer clues available from body language, the focus does really need to be on your pronunciation and vocabulary choice – thus you become more accurate and precise.
Lastly, it is an effective way of managing your training budget. The additional cost of travelling to the UK and accommodation might be acceptable for one or two courses a year but many companies are looking at ways to maximise their budget (and reduce their costs). Therefore, opting for a distance programme of 5 or 10 lessons reduces the cost just to the contact hours with the teacher. We take care of all the other administration.
Why not try out Trebinshun for your distance learning needs? Contact us for more information.