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How Teaching Groups is Different from Teaching Individual Students

How Teaching Groups is Different from Teaching Individual Students | ITTT | TEFL Blog

A TEFL teacher will encounter a lot of different things throughout their career and the sizes of the student population are no exception. There are two different types of lessons, group and one to one. While group and one to one lessons are no better than the other, one may excel in some areas where the other one isn’t as strong at or the teacher may have to adapt their teaching style. The number of students in the classroom will affect how the lesson is carried, creates challenges and opportunities for the teacher, and affect student development. The teacher must consider these points to create an effective teaching and learning environment for all included.

This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Chris V. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.

Planning Lessons

The teacher should always know how many students are in the classroom because this will affect the lessons greatly. Some several activities and games are best suited for either group or one to one. Groups have the advantage when it comes to the number of activities and games it has at its disposal. The classroom can play games as a whole or divided into groups. The challenge is getting every student involved and interested which is more difficult when having a larger classroom compared to one to one lessons. One to one lessons excel in grammar-based and pronunciation activities. The teacher can give the student their undivided attention which will help when learning grammar points, pronunciation, vocabulary, and sentence structure. For example, drilling becomes much easier when the teacher has one voice to focus on.

group of students

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Anticipated Problems

Challenges and opportunities come in both one to one lessons and groups. It is the teacher's responsibility to recognize them to create a fluid, functional, lesson. When teaching one to one lessons, the biggest change will be lesson planning. The teacher has to create a lesson plan for every lesson and depending on how many ones to one lesson the teacher holds in one day, this can be a difficult challenge. The teacher must create a lesson plan based on each student’s progress and their specific goals they want to accomplish for each lesson. With groups, this becomes much easier. One lesson plan is created for the entire classroom. Another challenge is the classroom environment. The more students in a classroom, the more difficult it can become to maintain order. The teacher must have more control over groups of students rather than having just one especially when it comes to activities and games.

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Learning Opportunities

Student development will be a challenge for both the teacher and the student. One to one lessons and groups will play a big part in a student’s learning ability. The pace of the classroom has the opportunity to move faster when teaching one to one because the teacher has to make sure only one student understands, but when teaching a group of students, the teacher must make sure that no student falls behind which may become difficult because not every single student will be able to practice every single activity. How much interaction the student has with the language will depend on the type of classroom size. In one to one lessons, the student only has the opportunity to speak English with the teacher and no other peers. This will limit the opportunities the student has to practice with the language, whereas in groups, students will have a lot of opportunities to speak English within the classroom and possibly outside of it.

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It doesn’t matter if the teacher is teaching one to one lessons or groups. There are many advantages and disadvantages when it comes to both and how the lessons are carried out, the challenges and opportunities for the teacher, and student development will be affected. It is up to the teacher how effective the lessons are. The teacher will have to adapt more than the students when it comes to classroom size. It is the teacher's responsibility to teach the student or students English regardless of the size of the classroom.

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