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Teaching One Student and a Group

Teaching One Student and a Group | ITTT | TEFL Blog

It has been suggested that most students prefer one to one teaching as opposed to being taught as a group. This is because there are some differences in teaching one on one and group lessons. These can be noticed in the teaching methods, tips and strategies.

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


A good example is in the time requirement because teaching time differs from one on one and group activities as well as how much time the students invest. One on one learning lets the students work at their own pace, which has a positive and negative impact. Some students will finish quickly and either feel accomplished or be bored in class. Others may not finish in class and plan to finish at home which may or may not happen.

Additionally, one on one learning requires students to manage their time, which some students may not handle well. Teachers should spend time teaching study skills if necessary and should always provide structure with one on one learning. Students may work faster than they do individually because they have more help. They could work slower, however, if the group does not function well or if some members need extra explanations.

Also Read: Is Grammar Still Important in Spoken English?


Another good example is in the aspect of giving homework. Teachers typically assign different types of homework one on one lesson and group lesson. One reason is because of ease and other deals with fairness. It's easier for teachers to assign homework to one student because he/she only depend on themselves to finish the assignment. Since only one person is working, the assignments are normally smaller. Students can individually ask for help and students cannot copy off a group member. In group learning, students depend on others for help, which is a great benefit, unless they take advantage of that. In group learning, homework consists of larger assignments. Too often students in groups do not work fairly, just one or two students do the work.


Grading is another good example. Grading assignments from one on one learning is normally straightforward. Students usually know how teachers grade and what is expected of an assignment. Teachers are normally comfortable grading individual work. Group projects may be complicated when grading. Some students may have not worked equally, the project may be only partially complete or only part may be done correctly.

Also Read: How much can I earn teaching English abroad?

Teacher Speaking Time

In a one on one English lesson, a good teacher usually speaks 20% of the time or less and the student speaks 80% of the time or more. This allows students to practice the new grammar and vocabulary skills that they learn and to become more natural English speakers in a shorter period of time. This is called the communicative method and it is exhausting for the student but it's a great way to learn! In a large group class, you are likely to spend more time practicing English and doing role plays with your classmates, rather than your teacher. If your classmates are from your native country, you might also be tempted to speak in your native language during class breaks which aren't the best way to learn.

Practical Challenges

Overall, time is the largest difference between individual and collaborative learning. Teachers spend more time planning and grading collaborative work because more things can go wrong. Homework is tricky with collaborative learning due to coordinating students' schedules outside of school. Individual learning is used more often, as it is clear-cut in handling concerns, although collaborative learning has many benefits.

Also Read: These 3 Simple Tips Will Help You to Become a Favorite Teacher

Do you want to teach English abroad?

For students who are looking for value, one on one English lessons offers a convenient schedule and location, customized curriculum and more opportunities for speaking practice. On the other hand, if you are really concerned about saving money, try group classes. They are certainly cheaper and might be good for you if you have a lot of extra time in your schedule.

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