Have you ever wondered why American English Language School requires you to sign up for quarters instead months? We have good reason for this. Through our research and reflection on our program, we learned that students who are only in class together for a month tend to spend a good portion of the first and second week being shy and hesitant to speak or participate in class. They are still getting used to each other half way through the month, which means they are only making real progress for approximately 2 weeks before they are off to a new class group and new students with whom to repeat the process. We wanted to make this getting-to-know-you process faster and more meaningful.
There are two ways in which we achieved this goal. The first is that we decreased the number of students in class in order to speed the process up. Everyone will get used to talking and participating in class much more quickly and comfortably. In addition, we decided to extend the courses to take place over 12 weeks, instead of breaking them down into three 4-week courses. While students in month-long classes may take 2 weeks acclimating and 2 weeks making real progress each month, students in our quarterly courses will take only about 1 week acclimating and will make 11 weeks of real progress.
We also found another benefit to our quarterly system: people are less likely to take breaks that often derail their success. On the monthly system, students know they will only be missing a couple of weeks of real progress. However, when they know they will be missing far more material and will not be able to enroll in another class for 12 weeks, they realize how much progress they will lose and how likely they are to regress after that much time without practice. For that reason, students are far more likely to stay focused on their studies than they would be if they were enrolling in a monthly program.
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