OK, so say you decide that self-study has its limitations and you begin to evaluate Italian courses in Italy.
Should you go for a group course, or shell out more for individual lessons personalised according to your needs?
In this post, we’ll give you the pros and cons of each!
When to choose a group course
A traditional Italian language course, in a group with other students, is often the most logical choice:
- Above all, it will certainly cost less. A lot less! Instead of bearing the hourly cost of the teacher all by yourself, you’ll be sharing the expense with other students. So, for a given budget, say 500 dollars, you could do perhaps 15-20 individual lessons, but at least double that number of lessons in a group. And more lessons normally means more progress!
- In a group you’ll make new friends, and you’ll be able to support one another during your course. And studying with others can be fun!
- A group class is less intensive than studying alone, so less tiring and stressful. It’s not always YOU that has to answer the teacher’s questions! You can allow yourself moments of inattention – when you want to, you can coast a little and listen to your classmates doing the work. Or not listen at all.
- If your group is a reasonable size, and the teacher competent, you should, in any case, get plenty of time to speak (when choosing a course, make sure you know what the average and maximum group sizes will be).
- Finally, don’t forget that studying Italian as part of a group will give you practice opportunities that you would not necessarily get when studying alone with the teacher (games, dialogues, and so on).
When individual lessons are the right option for you
But isn’t it true that, if you can afford it, choosing personalized, individual lessons is a better choice?
Well yes, sometimes that is true, but not necessarily because it means that you will progress faster or enjoy yourself more.
Individual lessons are likely to be a good choice for other reasons:
- When you have very specific needs, for example, if you need to prepare for an exam or an interview in Italian.
- If you’re not able to attend a group class, because the days/times don’t work for you, a personalised course could be the only option.
- Arranging for a teacher to come to your home or office might mean savings on travel time and can make it possible to combine learning Italian with other committments
- If you really, really need to speak as much as possible in the time available (or don’t have the patience to listen when other students are contributing), then individual lessons are a must!
- When the company’s paying! Diplomats, business people, politicians and anyone who gets their course paid for, inevitably seem to do individual courses even if, we suspect, they’d enjoy a group class more. If nothing else, it’s more prestigious!
And if I’m still not sure?
When planning a holiday, ask a travel agent for advice. When doing up your home, you’ll need an architect, or at least a builder. So, if you’re still not sure what type of Italian course would be best for you, get some expert advice!
Any decent language school will be happy to answer your questions about their courses (for example, the group size or the syllabus). They should listen to your preferences and be able to explain which course is most suitable to help you reach your objective.
Try e-mailing your questions and doubts to the schools you are considering and see how convincing the replies are (and if you don’t get a reply, or it’s slow to arrive, cross them off your list!)
Finally, you could ask for advice from other OnlineItalianClub.com members by leaving a comment on this post describing your situation and preferences, or posting in our forum!
P.S. Don’t forget the 20% OFF offer from our sponsor school – save money on all 2013 group Italian languages courses if you book by Christmas Eve… You’ve got just four days left!