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Main Differences Between Private Teaching and Group Teaching

Main Differences Between Private Teaching and Group Teaching | ITTT | TEFL Blog

There are several differences that exist when a teacher is teaching one student only versus teaching a class of students at a given time. For this essay, each difference will be compared against each other to effectively highlight the distinction between the two.

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

Student-Centered Approach

Firstly, if the student doesn’t show up for class, then that’s it, the class cannot go on as that student is the only person the teacher has teaching for that session. With a group, on the other hand, the lesson will still go on as there is never a time where everybody will be absent from class at the same time. Thus, even if only one person shows up, then the lesson has to go on as the student cannot be sent away. As this happens the student or students who were absent from the group lesson will miss out on what was taught and face the possibility of falling behind, whereas this is impossible in a one to one session.

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Choice of Materials

Secondly, with a one to one session teaching remains on one level, so whichever level the particular student is at, that’s the material the teacher needs to prepare for and work with the student to achieve. There is no pressure for the learner, he/she can go at their speed with the teacher’s undivided attention and without feeling the pressure based on the progress of the other learners in a class. Teaching a group, on the other hand, means there may be students learning at different levels of the language.

Challenged Motivation

Although they may all start at the same level, several factors including motivation can cause some students to move forward faster, while others may remain at the same level and others may be moving slowly. This in itself can pose a challenge for the teacher as if there are fast finishers they can finish and be disruptive hence; other students will be prevented from doing or completing their work. Therefore, in addition to the fact that the teacher will have to be sharing his/her attention equally to the students so each feels as though they are getting the teachers undivided attention, added pressure will also be placed on the teacher to identify these fast finishing students and always finding creative ways which may include always having more challenging work prepared to keep them occupied.

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Students’ Individual Needs

Thirdly, in a one to one session students can take materials to the class that is applicable and interesting to them to be used in activities or the teacher will be able to select materials he/she is sure will be interesting to the student as the student-teacher relationship will be a more personal one. In a group setting, however, the teacher is faced with the challenge of finding several materials that interest the different students. In addition to this the teacher also has to ensure that the lesson itself is interesting, thus, if the material is of no interest to particular students then the nature of the activities will keep them interested.

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Student-Teacher Relationships

Finally, as mentioned earlier in a one to one session the relationship between the two will be more personal than in a group setting hence, the student in most cases will develop trust in their teacher thus been able to express themselves, ask and answer questions as well as feel free to make mistakes. This will, therefore, allow the teacher to keep track of the student’s progress as well as closely monitor any challenges the student might have. In a group session, however, even if a few of the students have built a close relationship with the teacher and he/she has gotten to know those few and be able to monitor their progress and identify their weakness, the others may feel shy or intimidated by their peers.

Thus, they will not ask or respond to any questions because they fear to make mistakes. The teacher would then have to find ways to motivate and make these students feel comfortable enough to participate in one way or the other as well as measures to continuously assess these students both formally and informally.

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In concluding, a teacher can identify the differences which exist between teaching a one to one versus a group session. The differences between the two (2) speak to the strengths and weaknesses of each.

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