From around the mid 1950s-1960s the fashion was to learn a language by audiotapes, repeating mindlessly.
Then language classes became popular, including games and songs, and the dreaded textbook. As a linguist and language teacher myself I have come to seriously dislike desks, and textbooks in particular. That is the way most languages are learnt- but why?
This is a great business model. It is like learning a language in a factory. You are lined up in rows and the product is drip fed to you, slowly but surely. Dynamism, movement, are often limited. Creativity is not easy. Individual help and attention is almost impossible.
What are the alternatives? Well, self-study is good, but can only get you so far. Getting past stumbling blocks like bad pronunciation, repeated errors (that become ingrained) and grammatical mistakes that are hard for the individual to spot is difficult, if not impossible.
Polyglots (those who speak 5+ languages) often recommend one to one interactions, lessons if possible.
I have started having Spanish and Portuguese skype language classes. These skype language classes are one to one lessons and are truly amazing. I get to chat to someone else in a language I want to learn but I don't have the negatives of traditional classes. I choose when I want to study, and where. I've even had my skype classes from a beach (I had a dongle- wireless internet on the go for those unsure of what a dongle is..). The flexbility is great.
Also, my teachers get one on one time with me, they're interesting people and I get to chat to them about their country, traditions and culture. The lessons are really good for those wanting to get better at languages fast. Skype spanish lessons are quite cheap- I'm getting them for £10 an hour with
Their website is: http://www.eurolanguageholidays.com/skype-lessons/
I just had a lesson with a guy from Honduras a nice chap by the name of Roberto!!
Hasta Luego! :)