The pros and cons of learning Czech online vs. in the classroom

Learning a language is a social activity; so how do you improve your linguistic skills in an era of social distancing?

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas
Published on 26.08.2020 10:02 (updated on 26.08.2020)

Technology platforms that enable remote learning and meeting were among the big winners of the recent COVID crisis, accelerating digital transformation across companies and industries worldwide.

Online language schools were some of the earliest adopters of distance-learning technology. Czech Language Training (CLT), one of the Czech capital’s longest-running language schools, quickly updated its business model to reflect the new reality for its Prague-based students. 

Says managing director and founder of Czech Language Training Miroslav Kašpárek:

“We moved our classes online as early as March 16, while many other schools were just beginning to train their teachers,” he says. “By then we were already teaching on Skype and Zoom and had a very positive response.” 

He adds that after they resumed in-class teaching, many students opted for online courses with a breakdown of 60 percent going online and 40 in-class among their total of 400 students. 

If you haven’t yet decided which style of learning suits you best, Kašpárek says there are advantages to both ways of learning — outlined below — and encourages potential students to experiment and see what works best for them.

From September 7 you will able to do just that as CLT will be offering a full roster of over 100 courses, both online and in-class, for students of all levels. Students who sign up for CLT can reassess each month which platform they’d prefer to use, online courses, or in-class instruction.

The advantages of learning online

Learn from anywhere in the world

Kašpárek says that many of his students who start out with face-to-face lessons at the school’s Vinohrady location continue with online learning once they’ve left Prague. He says it makes for an interesting group dynamic: “One student gets up before the lesson and the other goes to bed after the lesson,” he says which sparks a lot of good conversations.

Save time and money

Those enrolling in online Czech language classes don’t need to enroll personally or purchase textbooks or attend tests in person, all materials and sign-ups, as well as the entire class, can be conducted from the comfort of your favorite coffee shop or even your bed. Czech Language Training offers registration 12 hours a day including Saturdays and Sundays which helps potential students greatly reduce the logistical challenges.

Gain confidence

Students who tend to have a more introverted learning style may appreciate online classes for practicing their speaking skills without the pressure of public speaking, says Kašpárek. “We have small groups of 6 students learning via Skype or Zoom, it’s very intimate and we find that it gives students the confidence to speak,” he says. 

Ensure safety

As the pandemic picks up steam once again, those who want to keep their social distance as well as move their language skills to the next level will appreciate the option of distance learning. Though students who enroll in the CLT’s new courses will have the flexibility of returning to the school’s comfortable modern classroom space.

Advantages of learning Czech in the classroom

Benefit from personal contact

While more and more people are becoming accustomed to virtual classrooms, the importance of personal contact when it comes to language learning can’t be underestimated. Language learners will become more engaged with body language and non-verbal clues that aren’t conveyed as successfully via the online classroom, while some studies say people retain information better in person.

Avoid the occasional technology fail

Lags and delays are common when using online classrooms as well as failed internet connections or poor sound or picture that can accompany an online session. For this reason, in-person learning can offer a more reliable option for those who are located in Prague.

Get immersion opportunities in the local language

Learning Czech in Prague means that you’ll be able to practice your language skills in your daily life; it may be more difficult to do so if you aren’t in a community with a lot of native Czech speakers as you might be if you opt to learn remotely from elsewhere in the world.

How to make both ways of learning work for you 

If a combination of both styles of learning is right for you or if you’re uncertain about committing to face-to-face Czech class amid a possible second wave of the coronavirus, Czech Language Training offers several flexible options. Students can decide every month which platform they would prefer to use and can enroll at any level from A1.1 to B2.

Kašpárek says that whichever way you choose to learn Czech the most important thing when it comes to learning a language is being exposed to it on a regular basis in both the online and offline environments.

“We want you to be able to leave one of our classes and go use something you’ve learned immediately,” he says.

To take a placement exam or sign up for Czech classes online or in-class visit Czech Language Training at czlt.cz.

This article was written in association with Czech Language Training. Read more about our partner content policies here.