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Why students complain

April 04, 2008

Hello again,

People complain mainly when they perceive a gap in their expectations and reality. When it comes to language schools there are two kinds of expectation. First there are basic ...

...factors that any student has a right to: a safe, clean environment, appropriate facilities and staff with the necessary background to deliver the service. These factors are easily verifiable through a regulatory system so it is clearly advisable for students to choose accredited schools.

The second set of expectations comes from the publicity generated by the school itself. Clearly any discrepancy between what is advertised and what is offered will be a possible area of complaint from students.

Beyond these expectations, it is possible to identify some clear categories of complaint. When students travel for language courses their biggest concern is the quality of their accommodation, whether this is a homestay, hostel or other type of rental accommodation. It is essential for schools to match the student to appropriate accommodation. Dietary concerns are of major importance, privacy, adequate study facilities are also vital. But religious and cultural sensitivities also play a big part.

The next category concerns expectations about how the courses are delivered: timetable, class sizes, teaching styles, qualifications of teachers, resources. If students find these are not as described in the school’s publicity they will complain.

Then there is the school environment: the size and comfort of rooms, provision of all that is described in the publicity. The key here is to give frank and accurate descriptions so as not to mislead the students.

Schools need a clearly described complaints policy that is understood by all and adhered to faithfully. It is inevitable that some complaints will be justifiable, in which case the school will have to make amends appropriately, and that others will be
Hollow. But all complaints need to be investigated in an open and fair manner.

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  1. ESL Teach Says:

    Great post and cool website. I like the clearly described complaints policy. That will save a lot of time.

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