Advice: Study vs Immersion
A teacher emailed me this week to ask for advice about helping a group of students who seemed to be stuck at band 6.5 to 7.
Here’s part of the advice that I gave to the teacher:
If you’ve already taken your students from band 5 or 6 up to band 7, it’s going to require quite a lot more work on their “general English” to move them towards 7.5 and 8.
You are essentially working with upper intermediate / lower advanced students and trying to move them up to advanced level. This can be easier when the students are immersed in the language (e.g. students living here in the UK), but it’s a huge challenge when your students aren’t using English outside the classroom.
Don’t feel too bad if your students struggle to become as proficient as you would like. They probably need a period of immersion in an English language environment to break through to the next level. Either that or lots more lessons!
Let me explain this in a different way:
If you take English lessons but use your own language outside the classroom, you are trying to improve through study. This takes time and hard work.
But if you live in a country where English is spoken, or if you are surrounded by native English speakers for another reason (work, a hobby, an online community), you have the chance to immerse yourself in the language outside the classroom. This usually leads to bigger and faster improvements.
In my experience, people often get stuck at a certain level when they rely on study alone. They need a period of immersion to break through to the next level of fluency and proficiency.
Let me know what you think.
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