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The growing prominence of English as a language of business and commerce has led to a global upsurge in the number of eager people (students) seeking to advance their skills in and their understanding of the language. Not only is its study being actively pursued by would-be tourists, but also by business people, diplomats and even sportspersons, who now ply their trade across the globe.
So, a closer study of the language or greater exposure to its spoken nuances, stresses, idiom and inflexions would greatly enhance a student’s chances of success when communicating with an English-speaker, put a businessperson at ease during negotiations and greatly improve one’s chances of doing well in scenarios where you have to communicate your ideas or thoughts in the written or spoken form.
A mother-tongue English tutor would be crucial and indispensable to building your confidence in the appropriate use of the language in many different contexts, which could be casual, formal or business.
Every person’s reason or motivation for learning one of the most popular languages in the world may be completely different. One person may want to do better at examinations or work. Another may be seeking to emigrate to an English-speaking country. Yet, someone else may want to improve their ability to write impactful articles or even business letters or communiques. Exposure to English, through classes, online study or private tuition, will expose a student to the history and etymology of the language. These would explain or draw into sharp focus the origin of words, idiom and terminology.
Besides having your picture taken with Nelson Mandela (or, rather with his 9-metre tall statue) or enjoying a braai (think dop en tjop - drink and meat) in year-round good weather or watching the Blue Bulls playing at home, there are numerous other reasons for establishing yourself in one of South Africa’s capital cities, the Jacaranda City. Pretoria is the administrative capital of Mzansi (colloquial term for South Africa) and serves as the host to all foreign embassies to South Africa.
The city offers numerous natural and cultural attractions, as well as several significant historic buildings and museums. Tshwane, as it is also known, has a reputation as an academic city and as a centre for research. It is home to the University of Pretoria (UP), the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), Sefako Makgotha Health Science University (SMU), the University of South Africa (UNISA), the Human Sciences Research Council and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). Further, it is also home to The National Research Foundation and the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS).
If you’ve ever been faced with the dilemma, “How to improve my English?” and you find yourself in Pretoria, you might just be in one of the best places in South Africa to study English. The city offers a host of institutions offering world-class tuition to learners at all levels of proficiency.
One private English language school offers English programmes at six levels, ranging from beginner to advanced levels. Classes are no larger than 8 students and the school caters for any learner between the ages of 8 and 85. It is close to public transport and students can enjoy the free use of the Internet and wi-fi.
The University of Pretoria offers English courses at various levels. It presents short courses as well as under-graduate- and post-graduate courses. During year 2 of under-graduate study, students will, for example, complete modules related to the history and development of the English language, as well basic linguistics and socio-linguistics. Students will also be aided as relates to academic essay writing skills. This is presented as a semester course, with four (4) contact sessions per week which can also be taken after hours at the Groenkloof Campus (3 contact sessions per week). By the end of year 3, students should have acquired the ability to read, discuss and analyse poetry and novels with enhanced understanding and sophistication. This sounds like a perfect course to be followed by anyone seeking to engage in the teaching of literature at high school level or someone eyeing a career in journalism or writing.
If you cannot attend a university on a full-time basis, you may find a home, theoretically, at Unisa (University of South Africa), the country’s largest university system by enrolment. It offers distance learning (e-learning), with face-to-face tutorials conducted at various intervals during the year. A range of interests is covered by Unisa’s short courses which include Intensive English for Foreign Language Learners to help learners to communicate proficiently. English for Speechwriting provides students with competencies in academic and basic research writing.
Several private schools, like the Getting to Know English Centre (GTKEC), provides English language classes from beginner to advanced levels. It also offers comprehensive preparatory courses for TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and the Cambridge Examinations. Here, students benefit from a one-on-one relationship with experienced, professional tutors who immerse learners in the English language.
Since you’re located in Pretoria, a centre renowned for its excellent academic and research history, you’ll be spoiled for choice as regards a tutor. Your challenge is really which tutor do I choose. It’s at this juncture that a resource like Superprof really comes into its own. It makes available to you a host of tutors and presents their profiles in precisely the same format. You can, therefore, make an informed decision because you’ll be able to compare tutors experience, prices, area of specialisation and location quite easily. This is a major advantage over a gumtree or newspaper ad or a poster up at your local store. English lessons could be presented to you online or in person. The choice is yours! Most Superprof tutors offer the first lesson free. This enables you to gauge whether your learning style and the tutor’s teaching style are compatible. It’s really a no-brainer! Get clicking!
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