The difference between teaching one to one groupsI have looked at some areas of EFL teaching and from my limited experience tried to highlight how my approach to teaching individuals or groups would vary.
Motivating the student
Every group, whether it consists of young learners
, mixed ages, children, business students
, mono lingual. multilingual, beginner, intermediate or advanced level students
will very soon develop its own group dynamics. I have found that unless the teacher is sensitive to these dynamics the group will not gel and it will be difficult to engage and motivate the class. On the other hand, using group dynamics can mean very active, enjoyable lessons and students
will respond to topics and more vocabulary will ensue which in an EFL lesson is crucial.
When teaching 1:1 unless the teacher engages with the student
and vice versa, little learning will take place and the lessons become a duty for both student
and teacher. From experience , if a student
says they have no interests, hobbies, or for example, only spend their leisure time playing computer games it is very difficult to generate an interest in any other topic or find enough vocabulary, activities , written exercises etc. to fill the lesson and to select topics of interest for future lessons.
Therefore the lack of group dynamics in 1:1 teaching can present problems and make the planning and execution of lessons extremely hard work and little vocabulary will be covered.
Arrangement of the teaching area.
I have found that choosing and experimenting with the best arrangement of the teaching area is vital in both situations. The student
/s and teacher need to feel comfortable and relaxed and the student
/group needs to be able to see any resources and hear any audio resources as well as hearing the teacher. An EFL teacher will make use of gestures and if learners can also see how the teacher uses the mouth/tongue/teeth in the pronunciation of words e.g. ?th? as voiced in this and unvoiced in think,it will be helpful.
Exposure to / use of English
In a 1:1 lesson there will be 60 minutes exposure to English but in a group, students
may revert to their first language by default or to discuss a task. For the ?engage? session there are a wealth of games and time fillers that are appropriate for group or individual lessons.
However a teacher and one student
can only interact with each other and they can only have a two way discussion so activities need to be carefully chosen so that the student
has fun and absorbs and comprehends as much English as possible. This will mean the teacher needs to use as wide a range of vocabulary as possible, varying the phrases and order of words used and also uses negative and positive statements and positive and negative questions.
In a group lesson, the students
will hear English spoken by the teacher but also by other students
. In a 1:1 the student
only hears the teacher, so it is helpful to include audio tapes, DVD?s or videos so the student
can ?tune? in to other English voices and this will improve their listening skills.
Being creative with / understanding language
The activate session/sessions in a group EFL lesson may involve role play, telling a story ,partner work in designing, for example, a poster or similar activities which are not so interesting in 1:1 sessions with only tweo people.
With one student
there are other suitable activities but the teacher will need to encourage the student
to be creative, discuss, practise and use language. On the other hand the individual student
will never be stuck for an English word, as the teacher will be able to provide the vocabulary needed or encourage the student
to rephrase/use an alternative word.
In 1:1 sessions the student
will have continual help /instant feedback from written work so it is important to set homework which will enable the teacher to assess the student
?s grasp of the skill introduced in the lesson.
In a group lesson the feedback may be briefer and any major misconceptions by the group may have to be wait until the study phase of the next lesson. Homework may be given but it should be possible to make general assessments (perhaps during the activate phase) during the lesson.