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Most traditional classroom language classes are not terribly effective, although there are some exceptions. The main drawbacks with classrooms are lack of individual attention due to class size, feelings of self-consciousness, and the extra costs of travel to and from classes. Self-study using a good program avoids most of these problems, although it can be helpful to have access to someone who knows the language with whom you can practice. It also usually costs less than traditional classes. The biggest problem with self-study is sticking with the program, but you can overcome this by enlisting friends in a personal support network. Classes usually become more effective, however, as you become more advanced and the smaller the class, the better. Serious intermediate or advanced students should consider private tutoring; it may cost a little more, but it will probably be money well spent.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|