My Experience of Teaching One Student and a Group in France
Teaching is a very rewarding experience when you have enthusiastic and motivated students, regardless of teaching one student or a group of students. However, in my opinion, only very young learners seem to have the enthusiasm teachers crave for.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Carmen T.
I have been teaching English in France without a qualification due to the great demand for English teachers and in my personal experience, one-to-one lessons have been difficult as I came across introvert adults and unmotivated teens. I have struggled to make them talk and engage in conversations so I ended up doing all the talking which wasn’t at all good for neither of us.
Teaching groups offer a chance for student interaction therefore, even the introverts get to communicate with their fellow students and quite often they tend to motivate each other in the classroom. Different tactics and techniques are needed when teaching one student or a group of students. In both cases, you have to prepare a lesson plan in advance, adapt and evaluate it according to student(s) abilities.
For instance: teaching a single student means that we go at a faster pace even if the student has problems learning a new language because we are able to go back to a grammar point later in the lesson, identify the student’s specific difficulties and find the solution to the problem, we can do two or three different talking activities or grammar games which will help implement what has been taught so far. With introverted and/or unmotivated students you have the chance to get to know them first and then work around their interests and needs even with the most difficult students. The trick is to show them that you are determined to help them learn and progress in English without patronizing them. To show the student, especially a teenager that you are on a journey together is very important and being able to speak English is really an advantage in the Global world of today. They eventually end up enjoying the lessons.
Also Read: English as a Non-Phonetic Language
Mix of abilities and interests
Teaching groups is a different ‘can of fish’ because of the variety of personalities and characters. There are a few obstacles such as time and classroom management. To be able to go through the lesson plan is important but not obligatory since you need to make sure the students understand the subject being taught and that they are able to show it through activities (verbal and written) which, will assure you that you are on the right track. Being able to use class activities where students talk to each other and discuss ideas is very enriching to them and the teacher as we are able to learn from each other. If for some reason you run out of time and don’t cover all the teaching points because activities went on longer than expected then you can continue in the next lesson by linking two lessons with common points and features. The secret lies in creativity and resourcefulness… Thinking a bit out of the box in order to find solutions that will work for everybody is crucial in any profession.
Teaching bigger classrooms
I have never taught large classes i.e. with more than 15 students so I believe it will be a challenge to keep in mind because at some point two classes may end up being taught together due to teacher absence and I will have to improvise and do the best I can without losing focus and track of the lesson plan. Student management may become a problem in such cases but I guess assertiveness will be needed for such situations. I have to start searching for tutorials and possibly some training for such scenarios.
Learn how to approach groups and individual students taking your TEFL course right now!
Now that I have completed two TEFL courses I feel better equipped than before to teach and I have been able to pinpoint with clarity what I was doing wrong all this time and I also know what to do to further progress in my teaching career including joining professional associations. All in due time!
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