In life it seems that we are constantly seeking the next challenge, constantly looking for ways in which to move up and up on the proverbial ladder. Whether it be at work, school or in our personal lives with goals we set for ourselves to achieve. Sometimes we achieve what we set out to do and sometimes this happens quite quickly but what we forget when we move forward so rapidly is where it all started and what we learnt along the way.

We can compare life here to learning a language, learning English in particular. It is often that students will come to me and ask me; “What is my level?” While, yes, it is important for us to understand where we fit in in life and in the classroom, it is not the only thing we need to know and definitely can be contested as to its importance.

We had two students recently that started in the Intermediate level here at Oxford English Academy in Cape Town and after passing some level tests decided that instead of moving up so quickly to the next level, to rather stay in the Intermediate class for an extra cycle. What this did for their confidence and their understanding of some of the more core components of the English language was incredible

They were able to have full on conversations with native speakers without missing out any of the basics like articles or prepositions from their sentences. They were able to listen to someone in a conversation and reply to them as well as ask and answer questions in an appropriate manner and with a high level of detail.

To cut a long story short, these two students were not any different from other students when they started here at Oxford, their first language was not English and they lived in countries with little English influence but because they were willing to take a step back in order to move forwards they both ended up, in less than six months, graduating from the advanced level with scores in the highest bands.

One thing to remember: Language learning is not a race.