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Over the years, I’ve experimented with various language teaching structures to ensure that I offer my students the best possible experience. Through this journey, I soon realised that the personalisation of language programmes is the key.


Because no two individuals learn and absorb information in the same way. People have busy schedules, different diaries, and completely different goals.

You don’t plan a language training for an individual looking to get their next promotion by leading a team in France the same way you would for a retired couple who has just bought their dream holiday home in Provence. People also have varied experiences with learning and practising the language.

At the Academy, I noticed that some people come to us with everyday Spanish that they have picked up after owning a house in the south of Spain for 15 years. They hear the language all the time but struggle to put a sentence together.

On the other hand, some have studied Spanish at A-level or even at university 20 years ago. They know how to conjugate a multitude of verbs but have no confidence speaking.

Language communication is unique, and when you consider all these factors, it becomes clear that putting a diverse group of people into a single class isn’t effective.

The Shift to Personalised Coaching

We also have another site in Windsor, where we only teach English to adults. These are often foreigners who relocate to the area, come to see family over the summer, or are here on a short-term study visa. (As a British Council accredited school, we can provide them with the necessary invitation letters to come and study in the UK). These students study with us for up to 60 hours a month and are here almost every day, making structured small groups a viable option for them.

However, most of our clients at the Academy are either leisure learners or professionals.

Whether they need to start their language learning journey or boost their language skills for personal or professional reasons, they often require a flexible schedule. Group lessons, in such cases, do not yield the best results. If people want to be part of a community, I refer them to other language training companies that offer informal gatherings, like meetups in restaurants, which can be fantastic for making friends with similar interests.

But, if you need to focus on your skills because you’re buying a property in Milan or Tuscany, your daughter has moved to Munich, or you’ve married a French national and want to obtain French citizenship, you need a highly personalised programme.

Factors Considered in Personalised Coaching

  1. Previous Language Experience: your familiarity with the language and how it was taught to you in the past.
  2. Learning Style: your preferred way of absorbing new information.
  3. Lifestyle and Schedule: ensuring your study plan fits into your weekly routine and is manageable.
  4. Goals: your unique objectives, which are unlikely to match anyone else’s in a traditional classroom setting.

For all these reasons, at VICI, we decided after 15 years to focus exclusively on private lessons. This doesn’t mean everyone gets the same programme; personalisation remains at the heart of everything we do. We offer one-to-one or one-to-two sessions, only grouping family members together if needed.

Beyond the Classroom

As a professional Language Academy with a team of 35 experienced teachers from various backgrounds, we’re passionate about sharing our expertise. We supplement our students’ learning with additional resources to enhance their experience.

  • Digital Platforms: our language coordinator, Laura, is constantly researching new professional digital platforms that provide self-study material, including videos, games, and coursework.
  • Podcasts and Magazines: we offer podcasts in French and English and subscribe our students to bilingual magazines.
  • Cultural Events: for students local to our Academy in West Berkshire, we regularly organise French brunches and a Franco-Cultural Club for example where we discuss various cultural topics. These events are also available in other languages such as Spanish and Italian.
  • Language Experiences: this is a cornerstone of VICI. We have several planned throughout the year, including residential programmes and retreats. For example, we have a residential programme in Valencia, Spain, in the autumn and a retreat in Provence in the spring of 2025 – soon to be announced! These immersive experiences allow students to practise their skills, gain confidence, and fully immerse themselves in the language.

The camaraderie that develops during these experiences is unparalleled. Students not only improve their language skills but also build lasting friendships with people from all over the world who share similar goals and interests.

Combining structured learning with immersive experiences is the magic formula for effective language acquisition.

That’s why VICI is now primarily focusing on personalised language coaching and language experiences.

We believe this approach offers the most effective, enjoyable, and enriching way to learn a language, tailored specifically to each student’s unique needs and goals. It is most certainly how we’ve tracked the most progress for all our students.

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