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The Benefits and Pitfalls when Teaching One-on-One

The Benefits and Pitfalls when Teaching One-on-One | ITTT | TEFL Blog

So you studied for hours, completed the necessary work, took the test, and received your TEFL certification, now what? You need to find a suitable company that meets your hours and teaching style. Do you want to teach in person or online? Do you want to teach a group of students or would you like the settings of one on one interaction? In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at the benefits and pitfalls of teaching foreign students English one on one.

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

Language Level

A major advantage of teaching foreign students when mono-y-mono is that there is only “one” level of English that you are working with. If you had a group of 15 students, you would likely have mixed abilities and levels you would then have to cater to, for each of the lessons plans you develop. Also, when teaching a group of students it is difficult to find material in the lesson plan to motivate and allow every student to actively engage the lesson. On the other hand, when teaching just one student, you can find their interests and tailor the plan accordingly to such interests, allowing the student to enjoy and engage the lesson fully.

Also Read: Teaching a Large Class: My Challenging Experience

Amount of Attention

The main benefit for the student while learning one on one is that they have constant access to the professor. Therefore, his or her English speaking interaction is dramatically increased. But with all the one on one time it could be exhausting for the student and the teacher. The constant, unnatural interaction could lead to premature exhaustion, as both the teacher and the students have no “ down time” to recuperate.

Faster Progress

Another advantage of teaching one student at a time is that the constant progression made with such student far exceeds the progress compared to their grouped peers. He or she is forced to endure constant attention with the teacher so there is no way to “zone” out. The teacher will be able to determine any pitfalls the student might have and hone in on such weaknesses to bring them up to standard. With a group, this would be extremely difficult as you are dealing with time constraints. This means some students might fall through the cracks, and not retain the information that they should have.

Also Read: Do I need a degree to teach English abroad?

More Difficult to Plan

Here come the disadvantages, teaching one on one can become monotonous. Teachers have a harder time planning lessons because they can not incorporate pairs or group work. Also, teachers that are yearning to teach in person, won’t be making the money compared to teaching a group of students. But, that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find the perfect position teaching one on one online for a comparable wage.

More Stressful

When teaching one on one, taking the role of a counselor can be stressful. Since it’s a more intimate setting, teachers could feel uncomfortable listening to issues that students might have at home. Also, personality differences could have a huge impact on the quality of teaching time, being that your only teaching one student, how will their personality affect the lesson?

Also Read: 3 Easy Ways to Motivate Students

Are you ready to teach different groups of ESL students?

Overall, it's really your preference when choosing what size classroom you would like to be in. If you want to provide a top-notch learning environment where you can see results in your students fast? One on One would be the way to go. I feel that it takes a certain type of teacher to teach one on one classes, that has a particular drive to teach in such an intimate setting. Either way, you’ll feel accomplished teaching humanity a skill that they can use to go further in life.

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