Teach English in Yuntai Zhen - Bazhong Shi

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Teaching students requires consideration of techniques, methods and materials that can be used for effective lessons. There are different criteria that influences the choice of activities during the study time. One of the most important considerations that need to be done while planning the study schedule is the type of class. Based on the type of class, teacher must consider what will be the most effective approach to the student or students. There are a number of differences between teaching one to one and groups: study materials and activities; relationship between the teacher and learner; and techniques that are used in teaching English and managing the lesson. Firstly, the study materials and activities that can be used for one to one and for group lessons vary. When teaching one to one, the teacher needs to choose materials that are relevant and useful for one student. While for the group, it is important to consider the language level and interests of each member in the class. During the first lesson, teacher should use activities that will help to find out the English level of the student as well as needs and wants of the student. However, it is important to arrange the combination of what student wants and what he/she really needs. This works with the group too, yet the teacher needs to consider each individual class member in order to create a study plan that will include different activities, tasks and topics that will meet needs and interests of all students throughout the course. When teaching vocabulary, grammatical structure or language functions, effective teacher will think about lesson structure and adopt materials that would be appropriate for the individual student or group of students. Even though the structure of the lesson can be the same for both individual and group, activities will be different since some activities become impossible to do, when there is only one student. For example, teacher may use many activities from the course book for individual student. While teaching the group, it would be better to practice more pair or group work that decreases teacher speaking time and increases students’ practice time. Secondly, the relationship between teacher and learner is different when there is one to one or group lesson. “1-1 lessons are usually less formal and the teacher will often be the partner of the student, helping, prompting, working with him/her” (Unit 19, p.3). The interaction between teacher and student high and therefore, the atmosphere of the lesson is less formal for both. While in the group, the role of teacher is more formal because it is important to manage the class and maintain the discipline. However, the teacher is responsible to create the atmosphere in class that students would enjoy lessons and be comfortable to participate in the class activities. Establishing the rapport between students and teacher is one of the responsibilities of the teacher. It can be done through various activities such as questionnaire, survey or pass the ball game. This activities allow the teacher to create not only comfortable studying atmosphere, but also get to know the needs of the group. Since the relationship between teacher and student depends from the individual or group lesson, the teacher will have different roles. During the typical lesson, the roles of the teacher will be adapted to the individual student or group of students. The role of the teacher as manager, organizer, assessor, prompter, participant, tutor, resource or facilitator, model, observer will vary based on the needs of the learners (Unit 1, p.2-3). “The teacher must be flexible and change his/her role according to the activity and situation without being dominant or leaving the students uncertain” (Unit 5, p.1). Consequently, teacher will adapt different roles and in different ratio during the lesson with one student or group of students. Finally, there is a difference in techniques and lesson management when teaching individual student and group of students. Even though the same techniques can be applicable for single learner as for the group of learners, they will change in the way how they applied and why. For instance, the Engage, Study, Activate (ESA) method can be used for individual and group lessons, but the teacher needs to manage activities differently and consequently, one stage may be more heavily focused then the other. In the first case, teacher will focus on the needs of the individual student and can use not only ‘Straight Arrow’ but also ‘Boomerang’ or ‘Patchwork’ for the lesson. In the second case, the teacher must take into consideration the needs and interests of the whole group and construct the lesson that will encourage participation of each member. For the group of students, teacher may create different combination of the ESA elements too, the only rule is that all lessons should start with an Engage stage and finish with an Activate stage (Unit 3, p.8). The main difference is that each stage will include activities adopted to the group. For example, activate stage for the group can include role-plays, debates, communication games, while for the one to one lesson, it could be story writing, discussions with teacher or the same communication game, but adopted to the individual student. In conclusion, the main difference between teaching one to one and groups is the focus. In the first case, teacher focuses on individual student and in other, on the whole group. The focus influences and defines all other aspects such as study materials, activities, relationship, techniques and methods that are used throughout the course. Teaching individual student requires different approach than teaching the whole group. “A good teacher is the teacher that really cares about his/her teaching, but cares even more about the learning of the students” (Unit 1, p.1). Effective teacher will consider what techniques and methods work best for the individual student or group and will use them in order to inspire learners and improve their learning experience.