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The Warsaw Voice » Business » September 2, 2011
Business & Economy
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Tailor-Made Language Learning
September 2, 2011   
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Luiza Wójtowicz-Waga, Director of Studies at Warsaw Study Centre language school, talks to Elżbieta Wrzecionkowska about foreign language teaching methods.

Warsaw Study Centre has been around for 20 years. What languages do you teach and who are your students?
We mainly teach European languages. Just a few years ago, most of our courses were in English, while today we also teach Arabic and even Chinese. Managers expanding business contacts with Asian and Arab countries feel the natural need to learn the language of a given country. We also have a special Polish program for senior managers who work in Poland and want to be part of the Polish community, make new friends and get a better understanding of Poland and its culture. We design individual syllabuses for such people and pick teachers who not only speak Polish and English, but also the student’s mother tongue, such as Swedish, Norwegian, Italian and so on.

Our customers are mainly companies and institutions which want to help their staff improve their qualifications and so they ask us for customized training projects based on language competence audits. Our syllabuses comprise general communication and specialized vocabulary adapted to a given industry or a position in a company.

We ensure our customers top quality service, personal tutelage and almost 95 percent teaching efficiency.

What teaching methods of your school’s own design do you use during classes?
We have our own competence-based teaching approach. Our academic managers identify types of language competence according to position in a company, age group, language type, learning goal and advancement level. Our teaching method has four basic pillars—just like a table has four legs. To begin with, speaking accounts for at least 50 percent of class time, which helps students quickly overcome the language barrier. We start each lesson by telling the students what goals will be accomplished in class. It is also important to make sure that every lesson brings something new, so as to avoid routine and boredom. We pay a great deal of attention to creating a positive atmosphere during classes and this is the responsibility of the teachers. Depending on the nature of a given course, we pick the right teacher using our Teacher Database Manager system. The system enables us to select teachers who, apart from specialist knowledge, have personality traits that match the students’ needs. The key principle is to ensure “good chemistry” between the students and their teacher.

Some learners are interested in taking a crash course or trying out some special method to become fluent in a foreign language as soon as possible. Can your school help such people?
We offer intensive Skill Pill courses—16-hour teaching “pills” administered for several weeks and designed to strengthen language competence acquired through traditional training. To those who are unable to take regular classes, I recommend study trips which are about 100-percent immersion in the target language. Mind you, these are all teaching aids and nothing can replace live contact with a teacher. The results will come faster if the individual syllabus is well designed. We come up with increasingly personalized teaching programs that take into account students’ personality traits and talents. Customized programs are the future of language teaching.
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