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Striking Differences of Teaching Students One-on-One and in a Group

Striking Differences of Teaching Students One-on-One and in a Group | ITTT | TEFL Blog

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

Main advantages:

  • Students feel that the course can be more specifically geared towards their own needs and wants than a group course can. Students may have the conception that the lesson is more concentrated and focused on what they want to achieve, this can be a very positive aspect as it will motivate students and their expectations towards learning, which will be greater.
  • Not mixed levels. It implies a greater facility for a teacher when organizing a class and activities since the planning is done based on the needs of a single level of teaching and learning.
  • Highly motivated students. All the attention of a teacher is on that student so that he or she can have a lesson specifically adapted to one’s demands and objectives, which is very motivating and positive in the attitude towards learning.
  • Clear and concise objectives. The objectives will be very specific; a teacher has not been worried about the expectations or needs of someone else, only focusing on a single student goal.
  • The teacher-student relationship will be closer and more confident. The confidence between a teacher and a student is going to be stronger than in a group, where there are more people to attend and consider.

Also Read: Should I take a TEFL course online or in a classroom?

Main disadvantages :

  • The dynamics and activities during the lesson are reduced. In a range of possibilities in terms of dynamics and activities that allow a student to put into practice what he is acquiring, it is greatly reduced. It is at a disadvantage to be considered with great severity since a student would be depriving himself of the possibility of relating to other English-speaking subjects, which could hurt his learning.
  • Less accessibility to a variety of accents. Languages are varied and each one is rich in dialects and linguistic expressions, the fact of being in constant contact with the same person, in this case, a teacher, will deprive a student of being exposed to other types of pronunciation and accents that are part of the cultural richness of the English language.
  • Lack of confidence to face a conversation. If, as a one-to-one lesson, a student will generate a much closer trust with a teacher, this may mean that when faced with a conversation or a dialogue with other people, a student feels both not sure of himself and his communication ability.

Also Read: Who will my students be when teaching English abroad?

Examples of exercises and activities:

  • Debates and discussions.
  • Worksheets.
  • Exercise books.
  • Comment articles and news.

Why teach in groups?

english students

Main advantages:

  • Students usually feel more comfortable when they have to communicate and interact with their classmates. It is usually less stressful for them since their level is more similar than that of a teacher. Students can interact with other students of the same level and condition.
  • Generate positive relationships. The feeling of proposing teamwork tasks is that everyone depends on everyone with the same common goal. Students support each other, promote responsibility and commitment to others.
  • Improve social and interpersonal relationships. Knowing how to put oneself in the place of the other, what is being empathetic helps to know and better understand people and thus have more capacity to solve tasks. Group work is one of the best mechanisms to work on diversity.
  • Encourage "learn to learn". Learning from what other classmates know is one of the greatest benefits of working in a group. They build their knowledge through interaction with their peers, process the information together and have to come up with a unique solution, but in the process of this work, they acquire great knowledge.

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  • Increase student self-esteem, motivation, and interest. Creating group tasks in the lesson also makes a student autonomous. A student will be responsible for one’s successes and failures and, therefore, more independent in one’s decisions.
  • It allows for planning much more varied and dynamic activities.

Main disadvantages:

  • Heterogeneous group. A heterogeneous group, which can cause some problems such as different levels, objectives, preferences, ways of acquiring knowledge, etc.
  • Less personal attention. Probably the teacher’s attention will not be focused on a single student but the whole group. This may mean that in some moments we miss some details about how students are evolving or what needs they have. However, this could be solved by conducting a weekly evaluation of the student’s progress.
  • Large groups. This can lead to greater complexity and more work for a teacher when planning a lesson and be careful not to neglect any student.

individual lesson

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Groups must be balanced and students must be of different visions, levels and ways of working.Communication rules must be established.Class distribution of equipment and stuff is important.

  • Examples of exercises and activities:
  • Debates and discussions.
  • Worksheets.
  • Exercise books.
  • Comment articles and news.
  • Role-playing games.
  • Quizzes.

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After analyzing all this information, I believe that working in groups can be more beneficial for the learning of our students. If we weigh up the advantages and disadvantages, and the variety of exercises in both ways, I retain that teaching and learning in a group would be more positive. It allows students to develop many more competencies, not only academic ones or English related but also important transversal competencies such as interacting with other students, working as a team, listening and valuing ideas or contributions of other people, enriching the knowledge of other students, etc.

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