Did you know that Direct English is the most flexible course available?
by Louis Alexander
When we were children at school, we were a captive audience. We had absolutely no choice in what we would be taught and when and how we would be taught it. We may imagine that once we leave school, we have greater freedom of choice. For example, we are free to choose how we will spend our spare time. We are free to continue our English studies or not and to decide which school to go to. However, the moment we enrol at a language school, this imagined freedom vanishes like snow in the sun. Suddenly, we're required to attend lessons at fixed times three or four times a week. We have to present ourselves for lessons without fail, because if we don't turn up, we are immediately blamed (or are inclined to blame ourselves) for lack of progress. 'You've been away the last two weeks,' your teacher might say, 'and I've covered the whole of the past tense. I can't deal with this again, you know.' But in our very busy lives as working people, we often can't avoid missing lessons. Our company might send us away on business trips, there might be unforeseeable demands placed on us by our families, and so on. Missing lessons is not the exception, but the norm.
Fixed lessons at fixed times give you no choice. You also have to work at the set pace that is prescribed by the rest of the class. Such lessons create the conditions for failure if you miss them, or they induce frustration if you want to go faster than your fellow students. Direct English completely avoids this dilemma. You can miss as many classes as you like. Indeed, you need never go to classes, if you choose not to. Alternatively, you can impose an intense course of study on yourself if you wish to make very rapid progress. How is this achieved?
Flexibility is built into the system. It works like this: After you have enrolled at a Direct English school, you are assigned a personal Tutor. You report to your Tutor who sets you an assignment (usually three lessons) with very precise study guidelines. You then take as long as you like to complete these lessons. If you have the time and are in a hurry to learn, you can drive yourself really hard. If you are away on a business trip, the lessons can wait till you are ready to give them your attention. Whether you are in a hurry or not, you can also work at your own pace, taking as long as you like to achieve the level of perfection you want.
When you completed your assignment, you visit your Tutor who then checks out two things: first, that you have satisfactorily covered the material in the assignment that (s)he set you and second, that you really applied the study guidelines that were given to you. (Sometimes we fail to learn because we aren't approaching the material in the best possible way.) The Tutor will set you tests for each lesson which reveal your progress. When you and the Tutor are satisfied that the material has been covered, you may join a class for a live lesson or two to match your skills against other students in the same situation as you. Attending a class is purely optional (though highly recommended). You are then set your next assignment of three lessons and the whole cycle is repeated. After every nine lessons, your Tutor will set you a more demanding test which will cover all the work you have done to this point. This test will reveal to you and the Tutor how well you are achieving the course objectives.
The important factor in this approach is that you, the learner, are always in charge. You never have to feel plagued by guilt for missing lessons. You never have to feel frustrated because you think the pace of the class doesn't suit you. You have accepted full responsibility for your own learning and in exchange you have total flexibility in setting your own pace. You own the learning: it belongs to nobody else but you.
© LG & DE Limited 2006
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