While I believe paid lessons are helpful and will continue to be helpful for a long time to come, they may not always be an option. In this article we will look at alternative ways to learn English for free as well as the advantages and disadvantages.
Learning English for free (the options)
- Language exchange. You could find people who live near you to practice (especially easy if you live in the country that speaks your target language). Alternatively there are mobile apps such as HelloTalk which will allow you to find people quicker (and especially easier if you are in another country).
- Lesson exchange. similar to language exchange, If you teach a language then you could possibly find an English teacher who is learning that language and you could teach each other for free.
- Immersion. Watch movies, listen to music, read books all in English. You can go at your own pace and maybe it will be easier to find the motivation if it’s funner!
- Internet. There are plenty of websites (English +xp being one of them) offering information on English, grammar, pronunciation and plenty more.
- Library. If you don’t have access to the internet then going to a library is another option for gaining access to knowledge. English books also tend to have more structure than online English websites.
- Practice alone. Even without using a partner you can still practice your English when you’re alone. You can talk to yourself in English (don’t worry we all talk to ourselves!), you can also try to think in English. (bonus points if you use it in your dreams)
Learning for free – advantages
There are a few different reasons why learning English without a tutor is preferable:-
- Free! Maybe you don’t have the money or you want to spend that money another way.
- Quality. Maybe you could get a tutor but you think you get better value doing it alone (especially if you can only afford a teacher with a low skillset).
- Learn when you want. Maybe you don’t want to schedule a time to study and just want to do a bit when you can.
Learning for free – disadvantages
- Direction. It’s difficult to asses where you are and need to go without a mentor.
- Pronunciation. This is an area that a tutor will be able to help with a lot. Progress can be made alone but it can be difficult with a lot of trial and error.
- Motivation. A teacher can help motivate you but also investing in your English ability (buying books etc) makes you more likely to keep going and succeed.
- Right resources. Although there is a lot of great information out there, there is also plenty of mediocre or even incorrect information. It’s not always so easy to find out what information is good and so having a teacher can help point you in the right direction.
In summary, I think that some people work better alone and maybe are even better off without a teacher and learning English for free. However, for a lot of people English lessons (either group or one-to-one) are more beneficial. The only way to find out which one you are? Try both! There are plenty of English tutors offering free trial lessons, so find out for yourself which way gives you the most success.