What is Easier: Group Teaching or Individual Classes?
As we all know, teaching a one-on-one class and a group class can be very different in terms of students’ needs and interests, teaching methods, class arrangments and feedback.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Liz M. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
For one to one classes, it is beneficial to students who have personal goals that are different than other students, for example, the students could be a tour guide who needs some tour language or the student could need more practice on pronunciation other than vocabulary. A one-on-one class can easily meet the students' requirements. Whereas for group class the teacher is very hard to meet everyone’s objectives as the students can be from different countries with different ages at different English levels, so while planning lessons, the teacher should cover a variety of topics to make sure everyone can get a chance to participate.
As for teaching methods, they can be diverse as well. One to one classes is pretty student-centered. Games are designed for one student or two (teacher included) like role-play with the teacher or just free talk as the teacher will correct mistakes in the process. Also, activities are very limited compared to group classes. But the good thing is the teacher can get full attention from the student and lots of practice with the teacher directly , it can be good for the effects of learning, whereas for group classes, teachers have to take care of every student, therefore teacher-student time will be deducted, but student-student time will be increased from games like role-plays, debates, communicative games, etc, which will help student building a rapport with each other to create a lovely class atmosphere. What more, with group classes, it is easier to apply ESA (Engage, Study, Activate) teaching method.
Class arrangements are not the same, either. For one to one class, an area for two will be fine. But for group classes, you have to take into consideration that if you have enough seats, how many copies of materials do you have to prepare ahead of time, is the size of classroom big enough for the activities you prepared. Do you need visual aids for the class, like the projector, the computer, etc?
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The feedback you give your students is also important. For one to one classes, in my opinion, you can correct the student whenever he or she makes a mistake cause it won’t waste the time of other students compared to group classes, but it is suggested that you do it after the student finishes talking. Don’t jump in for that will interrupt the student’s continuity of speaking. What’s more, drilling is more efficient as your pronunciation won’t be affected by other students, in other words, you will be exposed to the correct pronunciation from your teacher and less affected by other class members.
Last but not least is more chances to speak in contrast to group classes. Despite all the pros of one to one classes, group classes also have their benefits, for example, it provides more interaction between students by letting them work on a project or correcting each other, therefore high-level students have more confidence and low-level students get instant help from the others. But according to my teaching experience, it is better to help them build a good relationship first because of peer intimidation.
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In summary, one to one classes are more for students who want to have a customized class to achieve their personal goals and class forms can be limited whereas group classes can be taught in more fun, game-involved way but probably not be able to meet everyone’s objectives. Either has its benefits and drawbacks but serves the same goal which is to improve students’ language skills. So there is no absolute answer to which is the best, only which is more suitable. So take all aspects into account and choose the right one.
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