independently, in a group or individually with a teacher

independently, in a group or individually with a teacher


“Materials for self-study of English” is one of the most popular queries on Google on the topic.

But is it possible to learn a foreign language only by one’s own efforts and what alternative can be chosen?

How long does it take to learn a language?

You can master one level in about 200 hours. That’s a year and a half if you practice three hours every week. In addition, according to research Cambridge University, the time to master the level depends on numerous factors:

  • frequency of language use in personal life and at work;
  • teaching methods, which should differ depending on the level, age, goals of the student and previous experience in language learning;
  • intensity: the language is forgotten if you study twice or less a week and take long breaks in study;
  • access to high-quality educational resources that meet the student’s goals;
  • native language: it is easier to start learning English from Latin;
  • age: a motivated adult needs fewer hours to master a level than a child or teenager;
  • level of perfectionism: “I won’t say until I know for sure that I’m building a sentence correctly”;
  • previous achievements in the study of other disciplines;
  • emotional background around.

But the effectiveness and speed of language acquisition are most influenced by defined goals and a clear understanding of the situations in which it will be used, because the choice of relevant tools, methods, and topics depends on this.

The most popular goals of studying a foreign language

A year ago, KMIS held an all-Ukrainian sociological conference researchthe purpose of which was, in particular, to determine the incentives for learning foreign languages.

The most mentioned motives can be divided into two groups – the first of which characterizes the quality of life (leisure, videos, music, travel, interesting tasks), and the second has a more pragmatic orientation (money, career, work duties, etc.).

Regarding the latter, a strong command of the language really opens up more opportunities: 67% of our graduates who started a career in IT in 2023 had an intermediate or higher level of English.

If a person chooses professional development as a goal, then to speed up the result, it is worth emphasizing speaking – we practice speaking clubs with students to overcome the fear of communication. Also on the study of words and expressions by topic, for example, English for Work, Job interview, etc. And don’t forget to “sign up”, because text communication in international companies is also conducted in a foreign language.

One-on-one with English: possible or not?

The path of independent language learning, although it is long and thorny, is chosen by most polyglots. The development of a step-by-step plan from the starting point to the final one helps them in this.

You can use the suggested BBC a list of topicswhich you need to know at each level, and systematically work on them, training four languages ​​in parallel newskills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.

If with the first two it is clear how to work independently (here is an example of a useful resource), then for the development of the latter it is necessary to receive feedback. Now it partially covers artificial intelligence.

ChatGPT can test writing, while SmallTalk2Me offers an extensive speech assessment. However, these tools are not yet able to analyze why certain errors occurred and offer strategies to avoid them in the future.

Therefore, at the initial levels, such as A1 and A2, the language can be mastered faster and more efficiently with the support of a competent teacher who will help understand how the language works and support it with quality feedback.

Already at higher levels, the infamous plateau often occurs, when it seems that there is no or minimal progress. That is when it is more appropriate to take the initiative and take full responsibility for independent learning.

So what to choose at the beginning: group or individual classes?

To conclude, let’s look at the main advantages and disadvantages of these two learning formats.

Lessons in a group


  • development of soft skills – effective communication, empathy, active listening;
  • motivation to speak like classmates with a higher level;
  • double encouragement: group dynamics and teacher’s methodical support;
  • lower tuition fees.


  • less individual feedback;
  • a standardized pace for assimilating information for everyone;
  • classmates with different levels and abilities;
  • unification of learning goals for all students.

Individual classes


  • personalized feedback;
  • complete compliance of the program with the student’s goals;
  • flexible schedule that depends only on the student and teacher;
  • psychological safety for those who are worried about publicity.


  • higher cost;
  • loss of focus when teacher and student become friends;
  • limited influence of social psychology due to lack of communication with different personalities;
  • getting used to the uniform pronunciation and pace of speech that the student hears from the teacher.

So if you have an initial level of proficiency, the goal of learning is general mastery of the language and there is a request for communication practice, then the best option is a group.

If you have an intermediate or advanced level and have a specific request, for example, to prepare for a public speech, a work meeting, etc., it is best to take a certain number of individual lessons with a qualified teacher. He will be able to tell you how to move forward on your own.

Olga Shankar, Head of English at the EdTech startup Mate academy, specially for UP. Life

Publications in the “View” section are not editorial articles and reflect exclusively the author’s point of view.


Original Source Link