Many people trying to learn a new language hire a tutor for personal instruction and coaching. But some learners are between jobs or have little income to spare on education. What can they do to improve English? Today people have many choices. If they cannot afford one-on-one instruction, they can attend classes, where the cost is shared among many students. Even better are free courses. Newcomers to the U.S. may not know that the federal government sponsors free classes in English as a Second Language and U.S. Citizenship. Funding for these programs comes from the U.S. Department of Labor because our country needs a workforce that can understand and communicate in English. Free, government sponsored courses are available in almost every community. How do you find them? Contact your local high school's adult education department for more information. In some areas, these programs are offered through a community college or other non-profit organization. The free government ESL programs measure learning by using standardized multiple choice questions that mainly check for comprehension and vocabulary. They do not measure pronunciation or other factors of fluent English.
Another way to study English is by self study, which is to learn independently of a teacher or class. If you can work independently, you can simply study any English textbook that you borrow from the library or purchase. Used books are very inexpensive on Amazon or used book stores. Like teachers, classes, and programs, books vary a great deal in their content and presentation. Find a book or series of books that interests you and that you understand easily. Each person is different, so no one book is best for everyone.
Today, studying English is even easier with a vast number of websites and online resources suitable for a wide range of learners. In a recent blog I mentioned Free Rice, a website that makes learning fun by turning it into a game. So many good English language learning sites are free, that paying for a premium resource is usually not necessary. Surf the internet until you find a website you like, then bookmark it. If you have to register or pay any money, move on to a different site.
Students of English as a Second Language do not always get what they pay for. In the U.S. we say, "let the buyer beware." Just because you pay a lot for instruction does not necessarily mean the quality is good for you personally. Even if a program has been very successful and is well known, maybe it is not a good fit for you. For example, Berlitz is an internationally known language program which has been around for a long time and boasts many graduates. However, Berlitz' approach is not flexible and does not address the individual needs of specific students. In other words, Berlitz' philosophy is "one size fits all/" Everyone buys clothes that fit themselves. Why not choose instruction that fits you well also?