So many people arrived at our English training organisation complaining they are learning English for years with xyz school but nonetheless battle to make conversation in English.

I’ve identified 4 significant reasons why traditional private language school classes frequently neglect to help people with their spoken English. For each reason below I’ll give a solution made to super-charge your learning and take your English to another level.


1. Classes are too general and /or too large

Traditional English classes are usually organised along financial lines so often you may expect large classes with various degrees of ability, even if they are advertised as ‘intermediate’ level.

If English is really a hobby or you have no have to improve quickly, large generalised classes are fine. If your classes are grouped in accordance with a specific need, with an exam focus for instance, a traditional class can still work.

But if you need to see specific improvement in your spoken English quickly, this large generalised class is really a big mistake. Yes, it may be a cheaper way to learn – but you will spend more time and money over time using material that’s irrelevant, hearing mistakes from other foreign learners and incredibly little time actively speaking the English you must practice and improve.

Wouldn’t you rather be spending your time and effort and money on another thing?


Write down your reasons for learning. Set yourself realistic ‘functional’ goals and become as specific as possible: e.g ‘I desire to speak English more confidently to clients on the telephone’. Present this to your English school when you are already attending classes. Can they assist you to with this by arranging 1-1 or small classes with an identical focus? If not, it is time to find another teacher/school who guarantees to help with your specific needs. The key is to learn 1-1 or in very small groups to maximise practice time and ensure classes are 100% focussed on your own needs.

2. Teachers teach you what they think you need to understand, rather than what you ought to know.

Teachers are taught that a good lesson includes a balance of reading, writing, speaking and listening throughout. That is fine and is practical for most students – unless your aim is to improve your spoken English.

To be of Four Dot ellipsis to you, everything should serve only to promote your spoken skills. This may actually mean reading a passage or making notes, but only to progress your aim; to speak English better.


Insist upon a spoken focus. In case you are asked to read/write long passages consistently, ask how this is helping your spoken progress. If you are not satisfied, it’s time to find another teacher or school. Along with your goals (in 1 above) show your new teacher your lesson focus should be on speaking English.