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Major Differences Between Teaching Individual Students and Groups

Major Differences Between Teaching Individual Students and Groups | ITTT | TEFL Blog

There are a few aspects which should be taken into consideration when teaching either one-to-one, as well as teaching larger groups. As teachers, we might encounter, sooner or later, both situations and we have to make sure that we have the necessary tools to properly achieve the purpose of learning.

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

One-to-One Teaching

I will start by looking first at one-to-one teaching, at the advantages and disadvantages that might arise. There are therefore 2 situations that we might encounter when we have only one student: our student could be either a child or an adult. Depending on the situation, our approach will be different. A child will need a very diverse lesson, multiple engage and activity phases, and well-structured study phases that would continually spark his interest. The lesson should have interactive games, songs, drillings, and exercises. Learning should be acquired through play and the teacher should use praising as a method of stimulating and boosting confidence. Having a one-to-one lesson with a child might become a challenge since the teacher should be completely involved and continually interact with the child in order to avoid boredom. Therefore, I could say that the advantages of this type of lesson would be the next ones:

  • The students get all the teacher’s attention
  • The student’s difficulties can easily be understood and solved by the teacher
  • A better connection between the student and the teacher

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A few disadvantages would be:

  • The students don’t have his peers to interact with, therefore the lesson might become boring or stressful
  • No time to rest, as the teacher’s attention is focused 100% on the student

When working with adults, the task might be a little easier. The advantages remain the same. The student, being a motivated adult, can ask questions and better understand language difficulties. Also, the student can work through the lesson at his own pace and when needed, the teacher can repeat and go through the lesson once again without worrying that other students might waste valuable time. In my opinion, the advantages when teaching an adult student outweigh the disadvantages. Not the same thing can be said though when we teach just one child.

Group Teaching

Teaching groups have different advantages. To mention only a few, larger groups tend to be of great help when it comes to teaching children, as different games and activities can be played and the lesson can easily become interactive. Also, shy children can overcome their fear of being alone in front of the teacher, as their peers might help them gain confidence.

On the other hand, teaching large groups of adults can be beneficial when a Business English Course has to be taught. Pair work, group activities or interviews are very good activities to teach and test students’ knowledge.

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A good teacher should be prepared for any type of situation and, equally important, flexible and willing to change the lesson plan in order to suit the individual needs of his students. Progress should be seen, and the teacher has to make sure that his student doesn’t stop, but continually takes one step at a time, coming closer and closer to his goal.

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