I have a friend who wants to learn English and is debating between two different programs. One is more focused on conversations while the other is more focused on grammar, reading, and writing. Any advice is welcome.

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    Hi and welcome to Language Learning Stack Exchange. I think it is impossible to answer your question due to a lack of information. (1) What is you friend's main learning goal? What does he want to do with his knowledge of English? (2) The description of the programs is much too vague; we would need more details about thei content, the number of classroom hours and the number of students in a group.
    – Tsundoku
    Jan 22, 2021 at 0:59
  • Thanks. Those are good calls. The medium-term goal is to study abroad. The long term goal would be to work and study in an English speaking country. About the program description, I don't have much information. Sorry about that. Thanks for your feedback
    – stcol
    Jan 27, 2021 at 21:46

3 Answers 3


I would suggest you to choose the one that your friend finds the most interesting one out of the two. Obviously, the best option would be to have a mix of them as both aspects are important when learning a language. However, considering the fact that he has to choose only one, it is better to pick the one that he thinks he would enjoy the most and from which he could benefit the most depending on his actual skills.

For example, if his speaking and listening skills are more lacking than the ones related to grammar, reading and writing I would suggest going for the program that focuses on conversation. Conversely, if he thinks that he needs to improve his grammar, reading and writing skills, the program that focuses on grammar and structure may prove to be more beneficial to him than the other one.


Paul Nation suggests that a language course should have a balance of meaning focused input, meaning focused output, language focused learning, and fluency development. Your friend should see how each curriculum balances those four strands.

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    Hi and welcome to Language Learning Stack Exchange. Paul Nation is a wellknown researcher in this area, but could you please add one or more specific references to improve your answer? Thanks in advance.
    – Tsundoku
    Jun 13, 2021 at 15:40
  • Nation has covered his 4 Strands framework in several places but the book where I became familiar with it is called "What Should Every EFL Teacher Know?"
    – Rabet
    Jun 14, 2021 at 16:30

I always like to preface my answers by asking what’s the goal for learning a new language. If the goal is to be able to hold general conversations in your chosen language then by all means chose the program that focuses of conversation. I see no reason to focus heavily on grammar and memorizing vocabulary. I know of no one who ever learned a language by memorizing its grammar rules.

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