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One-to-One Teaching vs. Working with a Group

One-to-One Teaching vs. Working with a Group | ITTT | TEFL Blog

I have years of teaching experience and during my teaching years, I have been working with individual students and with different groups and would like to speak about the differences between teaching these two groups.

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

When I started my career I did it with teaching one to one student as it was easier and as I didn’t have teaching experience then I decided to start from individual students.

Working with a private student

Teaching individuals is easy as you are concentrated only on one student and you just need to find out his or her needs. We spent all your time with one student and you can see the progress easily. And it is somehow flexible. Dates and times of lessons can be adjusted to suit individual schedules. The informality of one-to-one lessons is also an advantage as it can be less stressful than group teaching and often less time-consuming about lesson planning and homework marking. In terms of teaching methodology, you have the opportunity to get to know your student and create lessons that are suited to their individual needs and preferences. You can collaborate more, encouraging the student to take an active role in their learning and become more self-directed. You can also be more flexible by responding to language points as they come up, even though they weren’t necessarily in your lesson plan.

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Disadvantages

But of course, there are also disadvantages to teaching one to one. One practical disadvantage is that you may have to travel a lot from one lesson to another. Also, some investment of time may be needed in advertising and finding students. Another practical problem can be when students cancel lessons unexpectedly or don’t show up. Also, one-to-one teachers usually work on their own and this means that they aren’t able to exchange ideas with other teachers or engage in reflective professional talk that is such an important aspect of teacher development. Some students are reluctant to talk, while others love talking.

Working with a group

What about teaching groups is a different thing. Like you teach the same language but when you have a group it is a different way and you, as a teacher, need to involve all your students in the lesson. One can talk, the other can’t be interested, the third one doesn’t want to learn and many other problems.

So what should the teacher do is to be professional and try to make activities that can cover all these problems? I remember when I was given my first class as a group, I entered the classroom and saw different people of different ages, and then I found out that they were of different levels too. So the first thing I did, I talked to them trying to understand what they want, why they want to learn English and then in my mind I Thought about motivational activities that could warm them up and all shall be included.

So teaching groups we need to consider the age, the level, the motivation of each student, and if we don’t follow all these steps we shall have a failed lesson.

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Of course, there are differences in teaching individuals and groups but one thing remains still, we need to know the needs of our students, consider their age and level, it doesn’t matter if we teach one student or a group of students.

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