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Friday, February 19, 2010

Online English Lessons' Many Choices

Whether you need to improve your native language, or if English will be your second language, there are many online options to choose from if you are looking for online English lessons. Colleges, language centers, private companies, individual tutors and even free blogs and message boards abound.
Before deciding to commit to any particular company or school, be certain you have a thorough understanding of your personal goals. This will help you choose the precise course and the appropriate syllabus to suit your needs.
The purpose of each course will defer, of course. There is a big difference between a quick 10 week course that will teach you conversation English, and a course lasting a few years where you learn to decline nouns and conjugate verbs. If you are heading to New York City for a vacation and just need to get around town, choose restaurants, find bathrooms, and get on the right subway, that quickie ten week course might be perfect.
Courses will all use different methodologies to help you learn. Some use nothing more than tables to memorize, usually reminiscent of our early years in school when we had to memorize vocabulary, poetry, spelling and even math equations. Others will use formal language lessons where you take it one step at a time, much as you'd learn back in high school. Here's a verb, here's a noun, put together a sentence.
Many of the courses provide feedback in the form of sound and pronunciations. You can click on word or even an icon and hear someone pronounce the word, or translate the idea. Let's not forget about homework! Whether you are signing up for a self paced program or a formalized college course, you will have some type of studying and homework. Of course, these assignments are always 'open book', or 'open web page' since there is no other way to get around it. However, if you are taking a test, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you were to always check the website or your notes for help with spelling or translation guidelines.
For the college programs, most of these are 'attended', meaning you need to log on at specified times and you will be online with a virtual class with whom you might be able to communicate via online white boards. You will also have an instructor giving you the lesson, discussing progress, and answering questions. He might even hand out future homework assignments. Courses range from free to thousands of dollars. Cheating won't help, and expecting too much from a free course with a small syllabus won't do much good either.





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