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Private or Group Language Classes?

You are eager to learn a language, but you don’t know whether to take a private class or enroll in group instruction. Sounds familiar?

Choosing between a group and private class is a common question that we receive from students prior to enrolling at ICLS. We hope that this  will serve as a guide for you to make a choice that fits best with your learning goals. Of course, if you have any other specific questions, we encourage you to contact us.

Understanding yourself

Which learning environment do you thrive in? Here are 7 key questions to ask yourself:

  1. Does learning with a group of students help me stay engaged in a lesson?
  2. Am I more likely to get distracted in a group class?
  3. Am I more motivated to study when I am in a group or by myself?
  4. Do I consider making new acquaintances important as part of the learning experience?
  5. Am I okay with sharing classroom participation time with other classmates?
  6. Do I learn better in a class with a structured pre-set curriculum?
  7. Would a customized class  be more beneficial for me to achieve  specific learning outcomes?

It is important to reflect on your learning style from past learning experiences. What made it a successful or unsuccessful experience?

When Group Classes may be a better fit

Group classes are a cost-effective way to start studying a new language. As a beginner, group classes can be a great way to start learning the target language, and can introduce you to a network of classmates with whom you can practice learning. Additionally, group classes run on a set schedule and have a standardized curriculum to help you navigate the common trouble spots that beginners face. As learning a language can be intimidating for a beginner, starting off with fellow classmates can be a low-cost way to break the ice.

Group classes can also help with intermediate/advanced-level learners who want to build off of their prior language learning. Many intermediate/advanced learners are simply out of practice because they are not using their target language on a regular basis. Group classes offer a platform for learners to engage in the target language by introducing higher-level grammatical structures, and improving conversational fluency through discussions of advanced topics. Additionally, learning in groups can be a great way to share and use new learning resources with classmates outside of the classroom.

If  these factors fit in with your goals and expectations, ICLS’ online group classes may be a good choice for you. Classes are small, with an average of 6 and a maximum of 12 students per class. Classes are very interactive, and are offered both online and in-person.

When Private Classes may be a better fit

Private classes are beneficial  for students at all levels of proficiency. Whether you are beginner starting from scratch, or an advanced speaker who needs a refresher, private classes give you the flexibility and assurance that your specific goals will be met. With private classes, you also have more autonomy over your schedule and goals.  Since instruction will be focused only on your level and language goals, you will progress more quickly than in a group setting.

With private classes, it is critical to have a needs assessment with an ICLS language professional. ICLS offers a free needs assessment with our highly experienced Language Coordinators during the application process. An important part of our discussion with prospective students is for us to learn more about their language goals, from which we help them understand the time and effort it takes to meet them. We believe in working with students to set realistic expectations of the proficiency outcomes of their program. If you would like to have a needs assessment, we are happy to get you started today.

Summary: group language classes vs private language classes

To recap, use the below table as a guide to navigate this decision:

private vs group language classes

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