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Letters to the editor

Do write to us with your views about the English language and any questions you may have.

Dear Sirs,

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 English fast.

This is the first time I have had to organise language training. What type of language course do you recommend?

Yours sincerely,

Italo Svoboda

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 tuition.

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, language skills.

Non-intensive courses are useful for maintaining and building skills over a relatively long period.

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.


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