Do write to us with your views
about the English language and any questions you may have.
My company plans to expand its volume of business in North America. Several of our
marketing and sales executives will be visiting the United States and Canada regularly,
in order to meet clients and agents. All of them need to improve their level of
This is the first time I have had to organise language training. What type of language
course do you recommend?
The editor's reply
A rich variety of language learning options exists for the business person. Basically,
there are group or individual courses, generally run at the language school, at
a residential centre or at the company itself. The language courses can be either
full-time ("intensive") or part-time ("non-intensive" or "drip-feed").
Group tuition allows for plenty of interaction and practice. Of course, the language
competence of the group participants should be around the same level, otherwise
there will be slower progress. Group tuition is usually less expensive than individual
Individual tuition is useful for its flexibility. The learner can book times and
arrange a location to suit a busy schedule. One-to-one tuition is both motivating
and efficient: full account can be taken of the individual's language needs, existing
ability and target skills.
Intensive short courses are useful for getting a beginner of the ground; for brushing
up before an important trip; and for training rapidly in limited, clearly defined,
Non-intensive courses are useful for maintaining and building skills over a relatively
Incidentally, nowadays, a combination programme (ie a mixture of individual
and group tuition, and of intensive and semi-intensive courses) spread over a period
of several months is proving a popular and effective formula for language training.
An intensive course is probably the best option for your marketing and sales staff,
as they need to make progress fast. However, I would need to find out a lot more
information about your executives' current level and language needs before making
any firm recommendations.