Is Tutoring Better Than Teaching a Group?
At its core, the same teaching principles and skills must be required and initiated for teaching one student or a group of 30 students. However, the key difference is time. An academic hour is 50 minutes, take 5 minutes to warm up and five minutes cool down, and this leaves 40 minutes for a class of 30 students. If one was to speak directly with every student, this equates to 1.33 minutes per student. Obviously, it would be pointless to do this, as not alone would each student get such little time as not to be of benefit. With one to the one, you get to spend the full 50 minutes with one student. Learning a language, be it a person’s native language or a second language, it takes time and practice.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Sandra A.
Power of Attention
With one to one, the teacher spends the whole time concentrating on one student. This allows the teacher, to really concentrate on micro issues where a student is struggling. Also, it allows the teacher to review previous work in more detail, and build a better rapport with the student. The more interesting and enjoyable a class is the more students will want to participate. A one to one class allows the teacher to discover where the student’s interests are and then to have the student talk or write about this interest. An example of this would be if a student likes basketball and follows NBA, the teacher can have the student explain about basketball and NBA and have the student do a project on the history of the sport, why the student likes basketball, the student’s favorite player and why, etc. This encourages the student and will be able to use a lot of grammar because the student is sure of what is being written about. The student wants to express his or her knowledge of the game and educate the teacher on the subject.
Although group work is not as efficient as one to one, it is where a teacher will spend most of their time. The effectiveness of group work is dependent on the size of the group, with groups of less than 6 being optimal, as again it allows enough time with each student. The one major advantage that group work has above one to one, is that a teacher can encourage peer learning in groups. If possible, it is best to have an even number of students, this allows for pairing, and thus enables the teacher to view pairs in conversations and jump in when required. Group work can also help with writing and grammar. It can be useful for students to review others’ work and see how they compare to their peers. Finally, with groups, the teacher can match up students in the order that they think best suits the class, for example putting weaker students with stronger students. The stronger students are able to help out the weaker ones hence helping make the work of the teacher less and a lot easier.
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In summation, the main differences between one to one and groups are the individual time spent with each student, and the advantage of peer to peer learning. Both are useful and if a combination can be used for students this will provide an excellent learning environment for students.
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