The English Academy has organised language lessons in Brussels for over 70 years. That experience allowed us to look for the best way to learn a language.
We found that the timetable of our evening lesson is essential for your success.

How to learn a language in the evening, based on our experience.

Why one evening per week?

We used to organise two-hour evening lessons twice per week. Two evenings per week is doable, although it is certainly the maximum number of evenings for regular lessons after working hours.

The statistics that we keep on attendance at our group classes show us that taking lessons twice per week is harder to keep up than once per week. Most of our evening students works or studies in the daytime so that their free time for regular activities is limited.

Declining attendance rates

Especially during the last part of the school year, after the Easter break, attendances became less regular and on average 2 student per group (out of a maximum 8 people) gave up before the end of the lessons.

When we contacted those students to check why they no longer attended – or attended irregularly – they told us that although they liked the lessons, the pressure of their daily responsibilities was catching up on them and that they had increasing difficulties to make two evenings per week available for their lessons.

Time for home study

With two lessons a week, there is not enough time left for home study, which is necessary to repeat and memorise what you learned in class. We provide you with extra tools (exercises, CD-ROM or e-portfolio) for extra practice at your discretion. With one lesson per week, it will be easier to find the time in between two classes to revise and to learn a language faster.

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Conclusion: switch to one lesson per week

These factors were the reason for switching from two lessons to one lesson per week for our regular English evening classes. The switch was made 15 years ago and the attendance is much better now. The dropout rate, which was not very high to begin with, decreased by roughly 50%. That is why the English Academy will stick to one evening lesson per week.

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Learn a language in Brussels

Making sure the number of hours is enough to really learn a language

When we switched from two to one evening per week, we were concerned that we would have insufficient time to teach the curriculum that was needed to move up a whole level on the European Framework for languages in one school year.

The solution was to increase the duration of the lessons and of the term.

a. Longer English lessons.
Our students confirm that making themselves available for lessons in the evening is not so different for a three-hour lesson compared to one lasting two hours. Nor is it a problem to stay concentrated because we plan a short coffee break halfway the class, so that our student can get up and stretch their legs, have a drink and an informal chat with each other. Yes, in English!

b. A semester instead of a term.
When we taught two English lessons of two hours per week, we organised three terms of twelve lesson weeks per year: the first from September until Christmas, the second until Easter and the third until summer. We replaced that with two semesters of fifteen weeks. The total number of hours of a semester is thus 45 hours (15 x 3 hours), compared to 48 hours for a term in the old system.

Learn a language in Brussels

Which evenings?

Friday night has never been popular for classes. We know, because we tried it. We currently organise lessons on Monday and Thursday night.

Although we have many classrooms, we prefer spreading the evening lessons over two evenings to avoid having too many people at our language school at once. After all, we highly value a personal approach and we like to know our students.

Thursday evening: first four levels

On Thursdays, we teach the first four English levels: beginner, elementary, pre-intermediate and intermediate, always from 6 to 9 pm.

Monday evening: three highest levels

On Mondays, we teach the higher levels: the upper intermediate, advanced and proficiency level, including the Cambridge exam preparation courses.

That is how to learn a language in Brussels at the English Academy

This explains the timetable for our English evening lessons in Brussels. The schedule and the intensity of our evening training sessions was chosen to optimise attendance and the progress of our students.

That, after all, is what matters most!

See how we put this into practice in our English group lessons