March 21 was a holiday, so I met my Wednesday students for the first time today since spring vacation and, just like last week with my other students, we talked about what they can expect from their classes and what I expect from them in the next few months.
In line with this, I decided to write about what the parents of my younger students can expect to see from their daughter or son, in terms of improvement or changes, because I recently realized that there might be readers out there who might be interested in such things.
If you are one of those parents, you might be surprised and not pleased because I think the improvement you will be able to see in your child in his or her speaking ability in the next six months (especially if he or she is a new student) is not much.
Not much or little improvement in six months sounds like a waste of time and money, but six months really only means 24 hours. That’s 24 hours of the 4,380 hours in six months, or 24 hours of the 360 hours people think is the average time it takes for a person to be able to hold a confident conversation. Again, hold a confident conversation only, and not achieve fluency in English.
I plan my lessons carefully so that every minute of the 50-minute lessons are maximized, but 50 minutes a week really isn’t enough to make huge changes except if the student does a lot of things to expose his or herself to English outside of our lessons. That could mean reading a book per week, watching TV shows or movies in English, listening to English songs or news, writing a lot, learning new words, or a combination or all of these.
Learning a languages takes up a lot of time and effort, which are not always available because there are other things to be done like going to school or taking dance lessons, so I think patience and realistic expectations are important things for a language learner and his or her supporters to have.