FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A STUDENT AND A LEARNER?
'Students' are usually people who are told that they must learn and that they have no choice on the material being used or the subject being taught. A 'student' may or may not be interested in the subject, actively listening or striving to reach goals. People who are not enjoying the learning process and actively participating are likely 'students'.
Whereas, a 'learner' is a person who is very involved in the learning process and looks for opportunities to apply their knowledge. They are engaged with the study materials and ask questions. 'Learners' are usually people who choose to learn because they have a genuine interest in the subject and are self-motivated.
Being a student is not necessarily a bad thing and being a learner is not necessarily a good thing. It is just an observation. We have all been students and learners throughout our lives regarding different subjects and that's okay.
I DON'T KNOW MY LEVEL OF ENGLISH.
SHOULD I TAKE A PROFICIENCY EXAM?
If you need to know your level for your C.V. or to participate in a program, we suggest that you take an official proficiency exam. If you are learning for fun or to speak with friends and family, we do not necessarily recommend them.
Proficiency exams can be used to identify someone's strengths and weaknesses within a language. However, not everyone excels at taking these kinds of tests. If we are stressed about learning, it makes it more difficult to learn. When we are relaxed, we retain more information.
People who are naturally motivated by quantified progress, will likely benefit from taking proficiency exams. These certifications can give you a sense of status or prestige, which could also help you get a promotion at work. Whether you pass a test or not, remember that learning is a process not a test score.
After an exam, you still need to spend time on maintaining or improving your communication skills. Therefore, it is important to think carefully and be clear about your language priorities.
WHEN WILL I BE FLUENT?
If you search for the word 'fluent', you will find many different definitions. This makes it difficult to determine what it is and when you will reach it. However, many learners want to feel just as confident in English as they do their native language. Using this understanding of fluency, we propose this:
When you are able to significantly reduce the stress and fear of communicating and using the language, you might feel comfortable enough to call yourself 'fluent'.
We know that is not the answer you were looking for, but the truth is that stress and the fear of making mistakes significantly slows down the learning process. When you get comfortable with making mistakes your language skills improve more quickly. Still, it is possible that you might never call yourself 'fluent' if you are self-critical.
There are many methods for reaching higher levels of fluency, but one consistent factor is that the learner must be engaged with the process. So, be sure to incorporate English in your everyday lifestyle, relax, and have fun!