Language Learning in a Classroom?

Hi! I am currently taking an intermediate Spanish class and an elementary French class in school. I know that two languages at the same time might sound crazy, but I kind of like it. Anyways, I was wondering what opinions people had on learning a foreign language in a classroom setting. Do you think it is a good idea or not? Do you think that it helps or hurts a person? I think it is an interesting topic, and I am wondering what other language learners on here have to say.

I find that it can help with learning grammar, but the only way to reach fluency is to spend most of your time just reading and listening. That’s how I’ve been learning Russian-- Taking a few courses at university but most of my time spend is listening and reading to Lingq lessons.

All exposure helps. As CanniK84 says, however, classroom learning alone is not enough for fluency. I would argue that classroom learning is not really necessary at all… except maybe if you were in the last stages of preparing for a standardised test for a job.

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It depends on you: on your tasks and even on your character.
If you an in dependent person, so you can learn languages just from the Internet, for example here in
But some people are not so independent, they need a class atmoshere in order to learn.
I can say it from my experience as a teacher of a language school.
By the way, there two different oppotunities also for learning at school: you can learn in the group of 6-9 people and you can chose one-to-one lessons.
But in any case, for the real fluent language you must do a lot personally not hoping only for school.


Agreed - a classroom setting can at best help with learning grammar or even improving your vocabulary to a certain extent, but apart from that it’s the amount of time you spent away from the classroom hours reading and writing in the said language that will eventually determine how soon you pick up the nuances. For instance, I teach a group of students English (these kids are not primarily English speaking so it’s very difficult for me to make them get a hold on to the language) and I always encourage them to try reading simple English story books at home, play reading games like these ( Reading Games - Online Reading Comprehension - JumpStart ) or even use flashcards to improve their vocabulary. Speaking from personal experience, I only find a marked improvement in those kids who do these activities after classroom hours.

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I think the uselfulness of learning a language in a classroom depends greatly on the number of students present.

When I was in high school, we used to be about 35, so the amount of time the teacher could devote to each student was much too low, and the opportunities to speak were scarce.
I think no language classroom should have more than 15 students in order to be effective.

I’ve taken up Italian as an adult, we were much less students in the classroom and the teacher focused more on oral practice, and I progressed faster.

Still, courses like this are one tool amongst many, and other activities are equally important.
For instance, I’ve read that in order to be remembered, a word must be read/heard a lot of times, so reading and listening on a regular basis are of paramount importance.

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Classroom? Not good for me. It wastes too much time waiting for the other students to do their things. I have learned a lot more as an independent student that what I thought was possible. I study 2 hrs a day and I know that they are a REAL 2 hours. I face the language in a fully immense Polish environment that I created. It is working. I can speak broken polish. I can talk to my wife and in-laws and make fun of myself. I am happy about it and I even find my mistakes very funny. I love it.

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I took a little French (one class) and a few years of Spanish in high school. I enjoyed AP Spanish for two years the most because the class was small (5, then 3 kids) and because of the teacher. He lived in Barcelona for 17 years and was inspiring, patient, helped us organize a trip to Spain. I didn’t really take any formal instruction after that, but I did practice for spurts “the LingQ Way” before I knew of LingQ. Steve K and LingQ changed that forever.

Overall, I think a class is good for 1) telling you where to begin if you’ve never learned a language before, which might not even be needed for Romance languages/those close to English; 2) motivating you if you have a great teacher as an example, like I did; and 3) can answer questions if you have them; and 4) can give you a more regimented program of study to get started in case you’re not the discipline type.

The only way it could really “hurt” I think would be to waste time and money better spent on activities aimed at acquiring words.

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I think classroom learning is a good idea. The thing is that you can practise what you’ve just learned in a group which is really helpful. And don’t forget discussions within the group, pairwork, projects and after a while debates. However if you’re not sociable and easy-going it might be hard. Two years ago I was in an English learning group and there was a person who was constantly depressed and obviously under a lot of pressure because of the number of students in the classroom. He was afraid to utter a word, afraid of making a mistake. But since you’ve mentioned that you enjoy learning that won’t be a problem.

Hello! There’s one more tip for you) I’ve found it on youtube. The technique’s called “shadowing”. Choose a short (or long if you like) video or recording. Listen to it withou refering to transcript or subtitles. Then listen again but now read the transcript/subtitles as you listen/watch and do it simultaneously. After that just try listening/watching audio/video and speak together with the speaker without looking at the text) It might be a good idea to turn the volume down a bit so that you could hear your own voice. Hope you’ll find it useful. At least it helps me maintain fluency and improve pronunciation)

My wife has been in English school for 16 hours a week for several years and her English is not great given the amount of time she has spent. She reads very well and her grammar is solid but she speaks poorly and cant understand hardly anything from a movie. The reason is that she doesn’t spend time outside the classroom immersing in the language. There is a big Russian population in my city and Russia movies, books, etc are too easily available. We also speak Russian as our home language.

I think school could be valuable but it can’t substitute for immersion. I wish I had a good Russian school here. I always have tons of questions and my grammar stinks. There are certainly areas of focus I would like to take classes in.