English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, in fact, just about everywhere you go in the world, if you are able to speak English, you will usually be able to communicate. In terms of its prolific use, it is the most spoken language after Chinese and Spanish. For South Africans, who already have 11 official languages to choose from, it is highly advisable to ensure bilingualism in English and make sure that your English conversation skills are fluent. Not only this, but if you are serious about tertiary education, increasing your career opportunities, or travelling abroad, you will need more than conversational English.
Studying English is one thing, but putting it into daily practice so that you can have proper English conversation, with confidence, is another. To do this, it will take putting intentional goals in place as well as investing time and money into a private tutor and English grammar lessons.
Living in South Africa, you most likely have the opportunity to take English as part of your school curriculum. This is your first and most valuable step to improving your English conversation and should be taken seriously. Sadly, so many learners don’t realise this while they are at school and miss the opportunity of gleaning as much as they can from learning a second language during their school years. For others, who need to improve their overall aggregate or need good language marks for their tertiary education, extra English lessons can help enormously.
As a start, if you are a learner learning English as a second language at school, make sure that you use your English grammar lessons to set solid foundations. Basically, good advice would be to listen in class, do your homework, and make sure that your English teacher knows that you are serious about learning English as a second language. Of course, an English teacher who can offer one on one tutoring can go a long way to helping you improve your grammar, English conversation, prepare you for exams and help you to become fully bilingual.
Reasons for One On One Tutoring
To supplement English grammar lessons at school, the most effective way to improve is through one on one tutoring with a private English tutor.
Fortunately, when looking for a qualified English teacher in South Africa there are thousands to choose from, and if you use the Superprof website, not only can you be reassured that every private tutor has had their credentials verified, but you can even check out their profile pages and read reviews from past students. On Superprof, you could find a tutor for every level of ability, and using the site can take out the hassle of endless online searching.
When it comes to the best ways to learn English, there is no doubt that a private English tutor is the best course of action. Here are some of those benefits:
Firstly, you can learn at your own pace, at a time and place that is suited to you. Not only that but your private tutor will be solely focused on your goals and you will be able to use these goals to influence your course content. For instance, if one of your reasons for finding English grammar lessons is simply to improve your English conversation with friends, that is one thing, however, if you need one on one tutoring so that you can develop business English skills, that would require a different approach. In a case like this, you can ask the private tutor to include jargon that is specific to your industry and really fast-track your English learning.
When you use Superprof to search for one on one tutoring, you could choose someone who is located near to you for in-person English lessons, alternatively, you could choose to learn via webcam and improve your English conversation skills with someone from anywhere else in the country and possibly even overseas!
Of course, there are other ways to take English grammar lessons, it is really a very personal choice. Some people prefer to learn in groups, if this is you, you could find a local language school in your city. Another alternative is to find free online English tutorials. This, however, is by no means to be confused with an English tutor or one on one tutoring and is rather, a very general approach or introduction to English.
Your decision on how to learn English should be based on why you want to learn it. If you simply want to improve your English conversation, free online tutorials may suffice to a point, but if the entrance to the tertiary education of your choice is dependent on your English marks, one on one tutoring would be a valuable investment.
For instance, you may be interested in doing a Public Relations National Diploma through Unisa but in a case like this, even if you have straight A’s for most of your subjects if your English grades are not high enough you may not be accepted.
If you are under the impression that one on one tutoring for English is unaffordable, bear in mind that this, in fact, is a myth. The affordability of one on one tutoring, depending on your goals, may surprise you.
For many second language English learners, the complexities of the language can be difficult especially when English is not spoken at home. However, this in itself can prove to be an opportunity for parents who wish to learn English alongside their children.
Parents who lack proficiency in English should aim to encourage their children to speak to them in English anyway. This is especially true with quieter children who are reluctant to speak up because to fully grasp a language it does require thorough disciplines of reading, speaking, listening, and writing.
So for parents who are not learning to speak English at the same time as the children, it can be more difficult for the children to progress. Sadly, this lack of practice at home can result in the child falling behind the rest of their class. One of the reasons for this is that proper pronunciation is difficult to achieve by only working through a language with pen and paper. One idea that can help to mitigate this problem is when the child becomes the teacher through role play.
Learning English through Role Play
Role reversal can be an effective method to understand almost any concept, even English. By pretending to be the teacher, a child can practise their best English accent, teach their parents and ensure that the parent is aware of the child’s overall confidence.
When a beginner has to explain things to gain further clarity and comprehension, it can be a very powerful learning tool. This advice can apply to you or someone you know, but at the end of the day, role reversal is a powerful tool. If you cannot explain what you have learnt it is a sign that more education in that particular area is needed.
The Cost of Private English Grammar Lessons in South Africa
On Superprof, the average fees for English grammar lessons in South Africa are R215 depending on the location, your goals, the teacher’s experience, and qualification, and whether you want to learn online or not.
If you need extra English to improve your matric grade or prepare you for tertiary education tuition where a high level of English is required, you will need someone who is adequately qualified to provide in-depth English grammar lessons, as opposed to more simple tuition aimed at helping you to make adequate English conversation on your travels.
Choosing the Right English Tutor for You
Regardless of your goals and ability, it is really important that you connect with the teacher if you decided to embark on one on one tutoring. This is where Superprof provides another advantage in that most of its tutors offer the first lesson for free. At this lesson, you should clearly communicate your reasons for wanting to learn English, as well as take the opportunity of finding out more about them, their teaching style, and lesson structure. All of this information is important in ensuring that you choose the right tutor for you.
Tips for Making a Private English Teacher Count
Part of the process in choosing the right English tutor for you is knowing what questions to ask them. Here are a few suggested points to include in your discussion:
Dealing with Your Pain Points
Be upfront with your English teacher about the areas of the language with which you are struggling. When the tutor knows what your pain points are they can ensure that your English grammar lessons are appropriately focused to help you improve.
Ask About Homework
Being committed to truly learning English is about so much more than attending your extra English grammar lessons. Ask your potential private tutor what kind of exercises or homework will be required of you during your lessons so that you can plan your time accordingly.
Find out About Fun Ways to Supplement Your Lessons
If you want to grow in confidence regarding your English conversation skills, there are many additional resources and fun ways to supplement what you learn with your tutor. Ask your teacher for advice on what free online resources to use or what blogs or podcasts would be best suited to your goals and level of ability.
In addition to having a private tutor, you could consider:
- A native English-speaking language buddy who will only speak English to you.
- Play English board games.
- Look up lyrics of music that you love.
- Check out online apps like Duolingo.
- Visit websites like the British Council and BBC Learning.
Speaking English with your private tutor will also grow your confidence when it comes to your English conversation and pronunciation, but to truly improve fluency, make sure that you practise speaking with English natives as much as possible. You could also simply decide to speak English with your Zulu or Afrikaans friends and all improve your English together.
Don’t forget that improving your pronunciation is done through active listening, so make sure that you tune into as much media and English conversation as you can.
Your Personal Commitment
At the end of the day, remember that good fluency in English is a life skill that will serve you in every area of your life. It can improve the quality of your education, open career doors, make travelling easier, and improve your social life.
To truly accomplish all of this, you will need both commitment and determination to navigate the complexities and nuances of English. Having said this, remember that in a country like South Africa where there are daily opportunities to learn and practise English conversation, you have many opportunities.
Remember to take every effort to extend your practice with your English teacher outside of the classroom. Knowing the theory, and then being able to add it as a skill to your CV will not help you if you fail to impress a potential employer with your spoken English in a job interview.
Your intentional practice and determination will pay off when it comes to how fluent you become in English. One method to achieve this is to set regular goals for yourself by making sure that you work through a recommended list of blogs, podcasts, and newspapers on topics that are already of interest to you.
All of these ideas are best worked through with your English tutor who will have a good knowledge of what kinds of resources would be most suited to you outside of the classroom. Find someone with whom you can connect, and this good interpersonal relationship on its own will go a long way to keeping you engaged and committed to your practice and study of English!
The platform that connects private tutors and students