The truth about online English speaking courses in India
It has been about 5 years since we started Speechify in India, with a unique goal to make English learning affordable and accessible to all. With the British colonization, the English language has been around the Indians as early as the mid-18th century. Despite having 122 major languages along with 1599 other languages, the attraction towards the English language is unparalleled.
English is the language of the world, the third most spoken language globally and the only language spoken widely for trade and commerce. You can read more interesting facts about the English language here. Unarguably, English being the global business language, we see steady growth of both offline and online spoken English classes.
In India too globalization opened the doors to multiple MNC giants, thus establishing the largest English speaking job market. This ultimately made Indians even more “Angrezi” lovers. The education system in the 70’s introduced the English language for most secondary school students while by the 90’s English was the medium of education in about 95% urban schools.
Still, most people in Indian are not fluent and confident English speakers. This is observed more commonly in people with vernacular education background across cities and class 1 towns. This has resulted in multiple online English speaking courses in India.
The need for online English speaking courses in India:
Most urban Indian cities had a plethora of English language coaching institutions catering to teens and job seeking adults. For kids, most school English teachers conducted separate coaching centers for children on weekends or post school hours. Parents, knowing the tough job market competition in this overpopulated country, spend huge amounts of money just so that their children speak fluent English. Thus, each language center branded themselves the “best online English speaking course in India” simply exploiting the vulnerability of the typical Indian middle class.
The pandemic gave rise to even more online English classes along with traditional language coaching centers. Even the teachers improvised and along came online English tutors ready to hone your language skills for 1 hour each evening. Let’s discuss about adult spoken English classes later and understand why young children in English medium schools need further coaching.
Need for additional English language coaching in children:
If these students have been schooled in English for most of their life, say more than 10 years, why do they need additional English language education? Let’s understand this better.
1. English schooling is simply a ruse- Most of these educational institutions though termed “English medium” the quality of language education is very poor. In most instances, students are not trained in English basics early on and thus suffer tremendously in their conversational skills.
2. Basic framework of language education is absent- Most schools do not really stress on language basics such as English grammar, English vocabulary building or word pronunciations. By the time children reach 6th or 7th grades, it becomes difficult to hone on their language skills since newer subjects and topics are added to their curriculum.
3. Rote style learning impacts spoken English skills- In most Indian schools thanks to the sheer competition, students are loaded with assignments. Rather than spoken English fluency, the emphasis is more on writing skills. In most instances, students simply learn by repetition. Moreover, teachers usually are unable to provide individual attention since most classes have a minimum of 30 students and more.
4. Spoken English practice is minimal- English medium education was only for the elite few in the 1980” s. Many Catholic missionaries set up schools across India which made English language education slightly more accessible but quality of English language education was not necessarily up to the mark. Even in the last decade, especially in smaller towns and cities, spoken English fluency among school children is not entirely a priority.
5. Mother tongue imparts a sticky vernacular accent- It is said that most Indians speak different versions of English- it can be Hindi influenced English- Hinglish, Minglish and so on. We have our own evolving vocabulary that is neither seen in British or American English. Indians speak English with heavy accents, accents imparted by their mother tongues. At Speechify, we believe that accents are great. But despite their rich cultural heritage, most students look for accent “polishing” English courses.
Thus, if you see, though Indians are groomed in English medium education, they need not necessarily be fluent in spoken English or English basics etc. Hence, the demand for English fluency, spoken as well as written simply is on the rise. And competitive Indians are out there to hone their skills come what may!
What should you look for in an online English speaking course in India?
Most Indians form English medium schools struggle with basics such as English grammar, English vocabulary and in 90% of the cases- its spoken English fluency. This means, though they know how to speak in English, they are not confident since they are not fluent speakers. This requires a different approach to language coaching
So as an Indian from an English medium school, what should you look for in an online English speaking course in India?
You must have already realized that your learning requirements are unique. Thus, your course selection should be smart, be it for regular classroom training or online English speaking courses.
Here are few factors to consider before you enroll to one:
1. Define your learning requirement- What is it that you seek to learn, written or spoken English fluency? Or accent softening lessons? Once you know what aspect of English language education requires focus will you know which course fits the bill for your unique requirement.
2. Look for courses that have flexible curriculums- Most English courses offer flexible learning hours. But very few (like Speechify) also offers options to design your learning curriculum (contingent to you knowing your English language basics).
3. Opt for private English lessons- Choose for personalized attention over group tuitions. Private English lessons with an online English teacher will facilitate a faster pace of learning and are not necessarily expensive on your pocket.
4. Be realistic and don’t fall for scams- Be wise, you know English to some extent and thus you must understand that you cannot master English in 30 days or 3 weeks and similar dubious claims. Do not fall for these scams, understand that quality education needs time.
5. Do not be ashamed of your accent- We will repeat how many times ever it takes, but accents are unique and a part of your cultural identity. Do not enroll to online English courses to “polish” off your vernacular pronunciations. If anything, own your accent and be proud that you are bilingual (or multilingual as is the case for most Indians!)
In conclusion, do not fall for misleading scams. There are so many wonderful English teachers and language centers out there which are authentic. Choose what works best for you!
Related article: Speechify- The best online English speaking course in India