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Teaching English to Groups and Individuals

Teaching English to Groups and Individuals | ITTT | TEFL Blog

To begin with, I will like to explain what one to one teaching method is all about. One to one teaching is a method involving the teacher and a single learner. In this methodology, the learner has the constant attention of the teacher since he or she is not competing for the teacher’s attention. While learning in a one to one method, strengths and weaknesses are easily identified and are addressed more consistently and fully without the competition of other students for the teacher’s time.

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


This method encourages the learner to learn at their own pace and not feel pressured by the progress of other students. The amount and type of input can be maximized by the teacher to benefit the student.

With all the mentioned advantages, one to one method has some disadvantages too e.g. it has the potential for exhaustion as the teacher and a group of learner can be in constant interaction. There is also the fact that there is a decrease in the range of activities a teacher can use. This means there is no pair of work, which can be a bit monotonous for the teacher and the student. This may take the fun out of learning for the student.

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On the other hand, group teaching method involves the teacher and a group of learners. In this method, the learners are sharing the attention of the teacher. Strength and weaknesses may not be easily identified like in the case of one to one thereby making addressing of weaknesses to be more difficult as the teacher might focus more on learners with more obvious weaknesses or strength. Learners are in constant competition and that usually calls for pressure while trying to measure up to the progress of other students.

This is not to say that group method does not have some advantages, it actually supports the learners to work cooperatively with other members of the group thereby exposing the students to diverse ideas and approaches. Through discussions with other students, they develop interpersonal and communication skills. However, some students (especially those who are not confident about the ability to communicate fluently like others), prefers to work independently and finds the group experience challenging and confronting.

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In summary, the following differences have been identified:

  • One to one method involves a teacher and a learner, while group method involves a teacher and a group of learners.
  • In one to one method, the learner has the constant attention of the teacher while the attention of the teacher is divided into group teaching.
  • Strength and weaknesses are easily identified and addressed, while it takes more effort on the part of the teacher to be able to identify all their weaknesses and strength in group teaching.
  • In one to one, learners learn at their own pace, while in group teaching, learners feel pressured by the progress of other students.
  • In group teaching, students learn to work as a team by cooperating with others, while one to one method has only the teacher to work with.

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We cannot say one method is more effective than the other because it all depends on the teacher, the learner(s) involved and the objective of the topic to be learned. If a learner wants quicker and constant access to the teacher, one to one will be the best method and if the learner also wants to learn to be interactive with other learners, a group learning method will be the best.

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