Input And Output

Did you know that you will only get out of Direct English exactly what you put in?

by Louis Alexander


We are conditioned from our earliest years to expect to be taught. As schoolchildren, we sit in class listening to teachers present information. Teachers encourage us to interact with each other, but we are always at the receiving end. For much or our time in the school classroom, we are often inattentive and generally make a minimum effort during the course of a lesson. When we were schoolchildren, we tended to take responsibility for ourselves mainly in order to pass exams. At such times, many of us studied hard in order to learn enough to get by. But years of conditioning of sitting in class remain with us into our adult years.

It's no accident that after (say) six hundred hours being taught English in the school classroom, many of us emerge with a very poor command of the language in relation to the amount of time spent. We wake up to this fact only when we leave school and realize that English is indispensable in so many walks of life because it is the only true lingua franca. So what do we do when this realization dawns on us? We enrol at a language school bringing with us the years of conditioning that led to our failure at school.

All language schools are in business to make money and most of them will stop at nothing to achieve this end. That's why many of them promise the impossible, claiming to teach us English in unbelievably short periods of time. Some of them entice us with massive advertising on the media, often tempting us with money-back guarantees. If we take this bait and enrol at an ordinary language school, we will once again sit back and expect to be taught. We have no idea how long this process is going to take because (despite their promises) the language schools can't tell us. Of course, many of us succeed in learning reasonable English, despite these conditions. But most of us remain beginners or remedial learners forever, trying to absorb dreary grammar rules about the use of the present perfect which we have heard dozens of times before.

Direct English makes no claims to teach you anything. The course expects you to take charge of your own learning, so you will get out of it exactly what you put in. Worldwide experience of the use of the course over the past few years shows that average learners, committing themselves to four hours a week, can complete a book in four and a half months. There are eight levels and therefore eight books in Direct English, so if this pace is maintained, the course can be completed in thirty-six months, if you are starting from absolute zero. Beyond level eight, there is provision for training you to pass exams like Cambridge First Certificate and TOEIC. So the entire course might take three and a half years to complete.

This doesn't mean that every learner has to (or can) spend three years on the course. The more you increase the input, the shorter the learning time. And, of course, the opposite is true. Many of you don't need to cover all eight levels. Every learner has different needs and requirements. But the fact is that we can quantify how much time it will take to cover the course, so we make no false promises about quick results. It is also a fact that because language acquisition is a performance skill, all of us have different ceilings. Even if we complete all eight levels, some of us may achieve near-native fluency; others will be far less fluent. Most of us drive cars or play tennis (performance skills) but very few of us reach champion level. We know instinctively what our limits and limitations are. But Direct English at least gives us the opportunity to reach the level of our potential through the sheer quality of the materials without raising false expectations through false promises.

 

© LG & DE Limited 2006

 

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