There are some excellent commercial language learning packages on the market, many books and CDs on the shelves of bookshops, and of course it is possible to spend an extended spell in another country and learn the language by full immersion.

So why join a group class? Of course, nothing beats learning a language in the country from a native speaker. But for most of us, this is not a realistic option.

All language learners, whether beginners or more advanced, share a desire to communicate, and that is why my classes focus on the spoken language. We do this by starting with simple activities and games to build confidence in a supportive atmosphere. More advanced learners will enjoy conversations on topics ranging from current affairs to films, DIY and sport. Ever tried origami in French? Watched an Italian film without English subtitles? Played bingo in German? You will at these group classes and you can’t get that from a CD

There’s no getting round the fact that there is some effort involved in learning a language. The amount you put in is up to you. The approach depends on the level and the language, but you should expect some written exercises most weeks to do at home, as well preparation for conversation.

What a group class can do is provide the motivation and stimulation to keep going, even when the going gets tough. A supportive teacher and the friendship of other students gives you confidence to have a go. After all, in real life no one speaks a language in isolation from other people!

I could also mention the fun and relaxation you gain from doing an activity that takes you out of your normal routine!