Teach English in Anxi Zhen - Chengdu Shi

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Teaching one to one lessons is to a certain extent different from teaching groups and has its advantages and disadvantages from both student’s and teachers’ perspective. On one hand, individual learning offers more teacher’s attention and more opportunities for speaking; teachers can easily personalize lessons to fulfil learners interests and needs and avoid problems typical for group lessons (mixed abilities, strong student dominance, early finishers, etc). On the other hand, teachers should be aware of some challenges that they might encounter while teaching one to one lessons and ways to deal with them. In contrast to group lessons where students have an opportunity to experience a spirit of healthy competition and benefit from more able classmates, individual lessons obviously don’t have this chance. As long as one to one learners have to other peers to compare themselves to, they might not be able to see their own progress and thus, lose their motivation. There are many different approaches to address a lack of motivation. Preparing interesting lessons, relevant to students interests and needs, implementing games, using authentic materials, singing songs and watching TV shows and films will help to bring back the fun and desire to proceed with the learning. Another important task for teachers would be to create the conditions where students are able to feel their progress and compare their present level of knowledge not with their teacher’s one (which can be inspiring and demotivating at the same time) but with their past level of knowledge. For that reason, sum up their lessons regularly, reminding your students what they have achieved and how this knowledge goes along with their goals. Praise your students, point out to their achievements and ensure opportunities for students' success by assigning tasks that are neither too easy nor too difficult. Additionally, teachers can occasionally make audio/video records of students work and let them see/listen to them after a while to see the progress in pronunciation and speaking. As was mentioned above, one to one lessons usually offer higher student talking time but at the same time, students have no opportunities to interact with other learners as their only interlocutor is their teacher. In order not to have your learners’ ears «get adjusted» only to your accent and manner of speaking, make sure to introduce them to different accents and voices by variable listening tasks. Encourage your students to find language partners to practise their listening and speaking skills. Similarly, one to one lessons can’t offer as many ideas and opinions as group lessons. So, try to provoke interesting discussions and encourage your students to see different aspects of the topic. Also, provide your students with the materials that introduce variable opinions about the same topic. Another problematic area, in the context of one to one lesson learning, is connected with applying certain activities (e. g. mingling activities) and tasks from the course books that are designed especially for group lessons. Some of them can be adapted, others will need to be changed or eliminated. Be flexible to change some materials and make sure you have enough materials in case of the fast pace of the lesson. And last but not least are challenges connected with learners comfort during the lesson. Obviously, one to one lessons might be mentally exhausting for both teachers and students. Moreover, learners might feel uncomfortable to practice a new language and especially make mistakes in front of a teacher. So, do not push and always give some thinking time and time for silent study. Try different approaches to match your student’s learning style, otherwise, lessons can become boring and even frustrating. In conclusion, one to one classes are not as easy as they may seem. Despite their numerous advantages they still hold some challenges and require more flexibility from teachers in order to provide effective and stress-free lessons for their learners.