When you want to learn something, one of the first things that comes to mind is a teacher. Where do you find a great number of teachers? At a school. So, if you are thinking of learning Japanese, you might be thinking about going to a Japanese school. Now the question becomes, are these schools truly worth it? Or, is it simply a waste of your time and money?
It should be understood that some schools are better than others. You may find a school that you absolutely fall in love with or a school that you absolutely detest. It’s up in the air there. So, let’s take a look at some of the general characteristics of schools and what we can say about them.
Pace of Learning
For one, you will be placed in a class with other students and as soon as there are other students, the pace of learning is going to drop. You will not be able to learn at the pace that is best suited for you because someone else is going to have trouble on a concept that you grasp easily and will take the teacher’s time.
You also need to take into consideration the time it takes to get to school. Instead of being at home and learning from a book or the internet, you will need to take transportation and factor in all the time costs associated with your method of travel.
Teachers Vary Wildly from School to School
The value of your teacher will vary widely. I went to a Japanese school once where the teacher spoke to us in English the entire time. She didn’t really mention the textbook but merely seemed to want to practice her own English conversation skills. So, you will have to watch out for the kind of teacher you end up getting. Here again, some schools are better than others.
Tests are inefficient. If you go to school, you will most likely spend most of your time preparing homework and getting ready for tests. You want to learn to speak the language, not how to take a test in the language. This is a slow and inefficient way of learning the language. You will also find that testing is a very low motivational factor for wanting to learn the language.
So, among other students, teachers and tests, you have quite a few problems that could hold you back quite a bit in your language learning adventure. Besides, sitting with a textbook in a classroom just isn’t fun. There are better ways to learn that engage you in a stronger way.
For example, reading comic books and looking up the unknown words would engage you much more than sitting in a classroom with a bunch of other students moving at a snail’s pace through a textbook. The choice is ultimately up to you and you may find that a school’s structure is required for you to learn the language despite its drawbacks. You should learn to find out what is best for you and go with it in regards to schools and the classroom setting.
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