How to Choose the Right Language School?
The short answer is that it depends on what you are looking for. There are plenty of great options – including some which are very different from each other.
You have a lot of choices when choosing a language school and service.
Begin your research by writing down how YOU like to learn, and the language YOU are most needing to learn (professional? social? or a particular skill improvement?).
(Clue, ask yourself, what would you be disappointed by NOT doing?)
If, during your research, you identify something as bad match for you, definitely write that down too.
For example, here at Blue Noun we have a ‘no classroom’ vibe. That’s definitely not for everyone!
English Learning Needs Assessment
If you find this first advice tricky, you are not yet ready to book lessons.
You will not find your match without getting independent help in choosing a course/teacher.
You can take our FREE Mini English Needs Assessment here.
Come back to this page when you are ready to compare language schools and course offers!
“Begin with having a very clear objective for what you want from any kind of English language coaching, and match this to the information you can find about each school.“
Take control of the process
Personally, I would avoid buying from the loudest voice or the largest marketing budget. I know from my own experience that they are least likely to have a personalised, tailored approach.
However, like comparing fast food with a cafe. Many people really do appreciate the one-size-fits-all service and a big brand name would give them more security.
Be wary if the obviously important information such as pricing, class numbers, teaching methods and content aren’t clear on the language school’s website.
Talk With Them!
Arrange a Zoom call with the potential teacher/school to talk and get any answers you need.
Try to get a feel for the service. Do they reply quickly? Are they friendly? Are you being spoken to like an adult and individual?
In our list below, 10 Tips for Choosing a Language School we share what WE prioritised as important when creating our business.
When you have identified your learning style and budget – you might also want to consider this list.
Blue Noun Language Hub | A Different Way to Learn
We are an alternative English language school.
We have spent a lot of time working out how to do things REALLY differently.
Read on for some less obvious things to consider when choosing your English course, online English course or English language holiday.
1. Is everyone remunerated fairly?
We pay the local artists we work with for EVERY Meet the Makers private studio presentation and artist demo we bring students to – even if their studio is ‘open to the public’ anyway.
At Blue Noun, we don’t think a language school should EVER put paying customers into free public events without some kind of prior reciprocal arrangement with the organiser.
2. Is there long-term support/follow up
We never stop supporting our English learners and send them personalised creative opportunities and information long after their time as direct clients.
Sometimes it’s just a funny radio show. Other times it’s a link for a job or an international exhibition opportunity.
If we see it and think of you, we’ll send it on to you.
3. Are there free resources to help ALL English learners
Our monthly newsletter shares good, intelligent English learning resources useful for previous English learners and ANYONE who wants them, regardless of their finances.
That’s a self-study English lesson for anyone – for free!
Just sign up for our newsletter
4. Do you meet the locals?
On our immersion English holidays, English learners meet locals in all kinds of social ways. If you are not interacting with local English speakers you are missing out on genuine English conversations – as well as the local culture.
5. Flexibility in an Emergency
While we recommend our courses and classes if you have time to build your English language skills – We offer emergency presentation coaching/job interview coaching for folks in a hurry.
Don’t waste a career opportunity by not practising the English you need to say on the day!
6. Is the language School’s METHOD of teaching clear?
Blue Noun have a particularly unique, bespoke method of teaching English. We invite creative responses to our language challenges – sketches, doodles, experiments, films, photos, sculptures (anything quick to produce and creative). We then highlight and revise the vocabulary each participant discovers, through their sketching.
This method works well for creatives. We don’t recommend it (or sell it) to everyone.
Match the style of teaching that suits YOU (not the school)
7. Does the English classroom FEEL good?
Our building is cosy and comfortable. We are proud to offer you a cosy venue to hang out in, speak English and meet community members.
It’s a hub – a melting pot of internationals and locals.
Ours is a converted church, but it just has to feel comfortable and not like a classroom!
8. Can you share it? Can you bring a friend?
On our immersion English holidays, we are happy for you to bring someone to travel with / share accommodation.
We’ll even invite your friend to some of our social events here at Blue Noun Language Hub (link to our FAQs below).
Want to take our online course with a friend – ask for a two-person discount!
9. Will you have REAL experiences of the places you are visiting?
If you join us live, our immersion English holidays take you on tours of artist studios, art and music events and around places of local quality production (distilleries, wineries – even a deer farm!).
10 What Does the Establishment Stand for?
We have a Social Action Policy.
(We think every company should).
Choosing an English language school
English classes or an English immersion holiday are a big investment of time and money, so research well.
Thanks to the flexibility of the online teaching market, there really is now a school or course for every budget and every kind of learner.
Our priorities for language learning may be similar or different to yours.
That’s how you will know when your school is a good match for you. When your priorities align.
For example, you have seen that social responsibility is a big deal for us – including sharing resources for free and helping our local community.
Identify what Matters to YOU
Obviously, this isn’t everyone’s priority, but if it is yours, you can search for it across other language school services.
Don’t hesitate to ask a language school directly about theirs.
Hopefully, you can see that we really care about our English learners’ progress and prepare them for a future of autonomous learning and stay connected with them.
Thanks for reading about our 10 Tips for Choosing a Language School.
We’ve told you what we have prioritised here at Blue Noun Language Hub
It’s certainly not a complete list.
Tell us in the comments what YOU would look for!