Home tuition
10 November 2009

You learned your first language at home. So why not learn a second one there as well?

It is an idea which is becoming increasingly popular with students, who feel they can learn English more quickly and enjoyably by staying with their tutor for a week or two.

"It's a good option for people who don't have time to come for a long course, or want to learn at their own speed or have particular needs because of their job," said Norman Renshaw, Managing Director of InTuition Languages.

His school now has around 300 tutors on its books, who welcome students into their homes all over the UK. InTuition does its best to match the interests of students with those of tutors.

The most unusual request it has ever had was from a Brazilian homeopathic vet who specialises in Jersey cows. He wanted a placement which matched his interests. "We placed him on a farm in North Wales which kept Jersey cows so he was happy," said Norman.

They have also matched a student interested in beekeeping with a student who was a beekeeper, and placed an opera singer with an opera singing teacher.  "It’s a bit like speed-dating," said Norman.

The average age of students is 28. Although it costs more to learn this way than in an ordinary school, Norman says it can work out cost effective. This is because students are getting one-to-one tuition and learning faster, and also because accommodation is included in the price.

Alexandre Houillon has just spent three weeks learning in the home of Peter and Jeanie Reeve in Buckinghamshire. The 36 year old comes from Paris and is a producer manager in animated films.

"I like learning this way because I think it’s a better way to be. You are closer with people who really know Britain. It’s a better way of learning English. With Peter and Jeanie we’ve spent a lot of time visiting different places, met lots of different people and spent time doing ordinary things. Definitely I think you really learn real expressions.

"I’ve improved a lot. I am starting to learn colloquial English which is a really special part of learning a language.

"It’s a completely different way of learning."

Tutor Peter Reeve has been teaching students in his home with his wife Jeanie for five years. He says they both love it. "It’s brilliant having someone in your house, and it keeps you on your toes."

His working background means he often hosts paramilitary and NATO students. The Reeves’ family and friends are used to socialising with the couple and their current student or students, and the pair love to show them the best of the UK whilst they improve their English.

"We had two Italian gentlemen who wanted to go to Edinburgh. We took them – and Jeanie taught them grammar in the back of the car as we travelled. They had a fantastic time, and learned a lot of English."

The pair host up to 25 students a year, and are still in touch with about 30 of them. Peter says that in many cases the students learn much more than English.

"One of the memories I have is of a father ringing me up. He wanted to thank me. His son had always done everything he was told, but after he stayed here he refused to do something his father asked for the first time. He refused, and told him why.

"His father said that he was so proud he cried.

"The young man is still in touch with us."

Interested in learning English in your tutor’s home? These English UK members offer this service:

Regent Home Tuition
Regent Edinburgh
InTuition Languages
Mercator English Language Training (Mercator Schools Ltd)
Elizabeth Johnson Organisation LLP
Cicero Languages International
Churchill House School of English Language


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