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11 / 04 / 2007

THE VARIABLE OF TIME (RECYCLED): meaning and examples

Good morning everybody.

Today I am recycling a Daily Vitamin from February 2004. Its content is so important, in my opinion, that it's worth repeating a hundred times. It is a bit long, but worth reading. I hope you enjoy it.


How much real practice do you get with English when you study in a traditional academy? If you don't work outside of class, you probably only get between 2 and 7 days of practice per year! In other words, a year in a typical English academy is the equivalent of spending only one week in London!! Do you find this hard to believe? Well, it's true.

Remember that most programmes include between 90 an 120 hours of class per year. So how many days are 120 hours? Well, although there are 24 hours in a day, the average person is awake about 16 hours per day. If we divide 120 hours by 16 hours/day we only get 7.5 days (120/16=7.5).

So, a 120-hour English programme is the equivalent of a maximum of 7 days of practice. That's not very much.

But it gets worse! According to studies, the average class only provides students with about 10 to 20 minutes of real practice with English per hour (an average of 15 minutes per hour). If you think about it, this isn't a surprising statistic; classes start late, there are interruptions, you are often listening to the teacher talk or watching other students talking or participating, there are cancellations, etc. So in reality, unless you work outside of class, in a traditional academy course you are probably really only getting about 30 hours of practice during the whole year. That's only about 2 days of practice during the whole year! How much English would you expect to learn if you spent a weekend in Sydney, London or New York? Not much.

CONCLUSION: Class is not enough. If you want to make progress, and if you want to maintain what you've already learned, working outside of class a few minutes per day is very important.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and I hope it includes a little English practice! ;-)