Sussex Centre for Language Studies

Guide to language learning

All our courses, which are open to everyone both working or studying on or off campus, offer the following:

  • a course planned to meet group needs based on the general syllabus for the given level.
  • 1.5 or 3 hours of group teaching and learning per week.
  • limited access to the facilities of the Language Learning Centre for solo-study.
  • weekly tasks set for you to complete between classes, to help you both consolidate the work done and prepare for the week ahead.
  • a pattern of topics with associated tasks to show both you and the tutor that progress is being made.
  • a certificate at the end of the course indicating your achievement.

Things to consider

  • Decide on your reasons for wanting to learn a language.
  • Decide on your own language needs and expectations. Does group teaching suit you or do you prefer individual tuition?
  • Read the information in the brochure to get an idea of the teaching methods and learning aims and objectives.
  • Please note that none of our classes are based on the learning of grammar alone, although grammar is included.
  • Although we aim to teach people how to improve communication skills in the target language, English will not be excluded from the classes.
  • Ask yourself – do these methods and aims suit me?
  • Ask the Open Course Coordinator for as much information as possible.
  • Check with the Open Course Coordinator the maximum and minimum number of people for the class, so that you are not disappointed. (Beginners' classes often start with high numbers. There will inevitably be some drop-outs and no one can join a beginners' class after the first two weeks).
  • If there is a chance to meet or talk to the tutor, try to take it.
  • Check your own availability for the duration of the course.
  • Make sure you know how to get to the University's Arts building - parking is via a pay and display system and can be difficult in the daytime.

You and your class

  • Try to be there on time.
  • Don't worry about buying a course book before the course starts.
  • There will be an amount of form filling and other administration at the first meeting.
  • Do try to come to every class, but if you have to be absent, please let us know by ringing 01273 872575 or email opencourses@sussex.ac.uk.
  • Don't think that others may be better or understand more than you.

Language learning

  • Take part in any discussion on the aims and objectives of the class at the beginning of the course. This is essential for you and the tutor to work out a suitable programme, but remember this is a group and, although the tutor will try to meet everyone's needs, this is not always possible.
  • One and a half hours a week is a very short time so be realistic in your expectations, language learning takes time and effort and is not always easy.
  • Don't worry about making mistakes.
  • Do take part in all class activities. Speaking, whether with the tutor or class members, is a vital part of language learning.
  • Practice might not make perfect - but it helps.
  • Language study 'once a week' makes progress difficult so do try to practise every day and prepare for the next week's class.
  • Preparation (homework) is very important - try to complete any work set.
  • Think about your language learning from time to time.
  • A vital part of language learning is seeing that you are making progress, so do take part in any assessment exercise - it is useful for you and your tutor.
  • Do try to come to every class, but if you have to miss a class, let your tutor or a class member know and find out what work was done and whether there is any preparation.
  • If the person you often work with is away, try to get in touch, reassure and pass on tips, handouts, preparation, etc.
  • Remember tutors can't know why you are away or if you have a problem unless you inform them.
  • Don't drop out just because you have missed a class and feel behind - get in touch.
  • Remember that your tutor is there to help you as much as possible and will always be responsive to any needs you may have. Please don't hesitate to talk to him/her.
  • Enjoy the challenge of learning a language!