What is an intensive English course?

What is an intensive English course?

Published: Feb, 20, 2023 | By: Lucas Weaver

What is an intensive English course?

Are you considering improving your English language skills? If so, an intensive English course might be the best option for you. But what exactly is an intensive English course?

An intensive English course is designed to help you improve your language skills more quickly and efficiently than a traditional course. 

Lesson frequency

Unlike regular English lessons that typically meet once or twice per week, an intensive course meets more frequently, usually three to five days a week. The lessons are longer, ranging from three to five hours, with longer breaks in between.

Lesson intensity

The intensity of the program varies, and some courses are even up to eight hours per day for five days a week. This type of intensity is usually recommended for those who need to learn English quickly, such as those who have just moved to a new country or plan to. However, it can be challenging for busy professionals to follow this type of program.

For professionals, there are still options for intensive English lessons, but it's important to remember that it will require a significant time investment. In addition to attending classes, you’ll have to spend time on activities such as studying vocabulary, taking quizzes, taking tests, and doing other homework outside of class.

effectiveness of intensive english courses

How much more effective is an intensive English course?

Despite the added commitment required, intensive English courses are proven to be an effective way to build English speaking fluency.

According to a study published in the Journal of Language Teaching and Research, students who took an intensive English course showed significantly greater improvement in their language proficiency compared to those in a regular course. The study found that the intensive course resulted in 24.3% more progress in vocabulary, 17.7% more progress in listening, and 13.2% more progress in speaking.

And while you will spend more time in your lessons in the short term, the total amount of time you spend learning English will most likely actually be less in the long run.

A study in the Journal of Language and Linguistics found that intensive English courses helped students make faster progress in their language skills in a shorter amount of time than in regular courses. The study found that students in the intensive course made 2.4 times the progress of those in the regular course in the exact same amount of time.

So while it may seem like a lot of time to spend now, you’ll actually be saving yourself time later. Depending on how much you value your time, whether it be monetarily or by measuring the opportunity cost of missing things like family time, time is the most valuable thing we have.

What about writing skills?

Why, I’m glad you asked. Just in case you haven’t had your fill of scientific studies yet… (I can hear you saying, “Yes, Lucas! I’m here for the studies!”) Here’s another one:

Another study published in the Journal of Second Language Writing found that students in an intensive English course made greater improvements in their writing skills compared to those in a regular course. The study found that students in the intensive course made 15.5% more progress in their writing ability compared to those in the regular course.

group intensive English course

Why are intensive English courses more effective than traditional courses?

By now, you’re probably sold on the greater effectiveness of intensive courses. But you might be asking why the increased frequency and intensity actually leads to better results. Let me explain the “how.” 

The mechanism behind the increased effectiveness of intensive courses lies in the amount and intensity of practice that students receive during the course. With more class hours and more practice, allowing you to generate more repetitions, you will be able to develop and reinforce your language skills more quickly and deeply.

Intensive English courses often involve a higher degree of student participation and communication practice, which is essential for developing fluency and confidence. Whether it’s through role-play or simulated real-life situations, the chances to use your English skills in a relevant way go up in longer class sessions.

It’s all about the Benjamins repetitions

Students in intensive English courses have more opportunities to practice their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in a supportive and structured environment. With more practice, students can reinforce their knowledge, learn from their mistakes, and develop a more intuitive sense of the language.

As I’ve explained in other posts, generating repetitions in a supportive environment that encourages you to make mistakes and receive easy-to-understand corrections is the most crucial element to language courses for fostering effective language learning.

In addition, the fast-paced and intensive nature of these courses means that students are more likely to be fully immersed in the language and culture. This can lead to better retention of the language and faster progress in a shorter period of time. If you can’t actually go to an English-speaking country to use English in your everyday life, simulating immersion in your learning environment is the next best thing.

Furthermore, the intensive practice that students go through during an intensive English course can help them to consolidate their learning and retain new vocabulary and grammar structures more effectively.

choosing an intensive English course

Choosing the right course for you

Overall, the effectiveness of intensive English courses is based on the amount and intensity of practice that students do, as well as the supportive and immersive environment that these courses provide. 

With more practice and exposure to the language, you can develop your language skills more quickly and deeply, leading to faster progress and greater confidence and fluency using English.

While it is admittedly a significant up-front time commitment, if you can make the time in your schedule, I highly recommend you invest in yourself and enjoy the benefits of an intensive English course. 

The greater intensity alone can sometimes make the learning process even more enjoyable, and once you get a taste of English fluency, you’ll never look back.

Want to take an intensive English course from the Weaver School? Of course you do! Check out our availableonline English courses here.

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Lucas Weaver from the Weaver School

Lucas Weaver founded The Weaver School in 2016. He's passionate about using the latest learnings in neuroscience and education to create the best language learning experience possible for our students, so they can quickly build effective language learning habits that will last for years. Lucas is a graduate of Texas A&M University and after 7 years of living in the Netherlands, he is currently traveling through Southeast Asia while learning their languages along the way.

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