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Less is More in EFL Lessons – Quality over Quantity ?

Quantity over quality

When it comes to learning a new language, which is more important- quality or quantity


There is a lot of evidence which supports that repetition helps our brains memorise new vocabulary. The more times we practice, say and apply a word, the more ingrained it becomes in our memory.

“Repetition is a key learning aid because it helps transition a skill from the conscious to the subconscious.”

Of course, the more vocabulary we know, the more effectively we can communicate. Researchers believe that in order to be able to participate in a simple, everyday conversation, a person needs to know around 800-1000 words. In order to understand 80% of a written text, you need to have learnt around 2000 words.

Repetition comes in many forms, so don’t be deterred by the thought of simply saying a word over and over again until you can’t take it anymore! Repetition is great when it is applied to real-life situations. Perhaps using new words/phrases/grammar through practicing your speaking in conversation, in topic-based writing, reading articles and books, and listening to audiobooks, podcasts or radio programmes.

Through repetition, over time, you’ll be able to engage with more words more easily, and be on your way to become the best language learner you can be!


Just because there is such focus on quantity in language learning, we shouldn’t forget about quality. The quality of the content you’re learning and of your lessons is also very important.

For example, a half hour personalised lesson with a teacher who understands your learning needs will be far more beneficial than a two-hour lesson with a teacher who has not assessed your requirements.

The Magic Combination 

The best way to be an effective language learner is to have a good balance of quantity AND quality. As long as you make sure you are receiving quality lessons, whilst ensuring that you are practicing the quantity aspect of this through repetition and continued application, you are on target for a winning combination! And remember… practice makes perfect!

“We measure genius by quality not quantity.”

Wendell Phillips