Teach English in Mixinguan Zhen - Datong Shi

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‘The mediocre teacher tells, the good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates, the great teacher inspires.’- William Arthur Ward The decision to teach students in a group or individually, on a one to one basis comes with several factors that makes it generally, a difficult decision to make. Although most times, based on personal preference due to previous experience, there are many deciding factors, which include classroom management, roles, relationship, time, structure and many more. The presence of benefits as well as costs in choosing whether to teach in groups or one to one, are what can make the decision difficult. This essay aims to outline some of the benefits and costs of one to one teaching. An advantage of teaching one to one, is the ability to manage the learner’s capabilities. Students have varying learning abilities and in a one to one teaching environment, the teacher has the ability to maintain focus and direct attention to that one pupil (Grasha, 2002). Teaching in a group environment lacks this kind of benefit due to the fact that in one classroom, there will be students processing information at a fast pace and students processing at a slower pace. Some students may be more distracted and group dynamics differ. Managing the divisions and ensuring that the classroom progresses at the same time and speed is almost always impossible. This can be seen through the dispersion of grades within classes in several high schools. As already mentioned, classroom management is an added advantage in that the chances of behavioral issues and constraints are minimal. The distractions and noise present in a classroom environment are not present in one to one teaching and with that being said, not only will the student be able to maintain focus and deliver high level work, so will the teacher. In addition, one to one teaching creates a more intimate learning space where the roles of a teacher are better emphasized as the student is more comfortable to ask questions directly and practice the skills they learn, especially on the basis of English practice. This also builds a very productive teacher-student relationship where the student’s needs can be adequately met. With that, the teacher can create teaching material that is better suited to the student. For example, it is a lot easier to use online games, CD's and other forms of digital learning in a one to one lesson setting. It would not be as strenuous or costly to implement as it would in a classroom setting. Although many benefits exist, to teaching one to one, there are some major disadvantages. First and foremost, in most one to one teaching settings, a lot of talking is done by the teacher and this can be an initiator for boredom for the student, and exhaustion for the teacher. It can be detrimental if the student falls into the habit of not responding. Lessons become lackluster and this could be mentally and physically depleting for both the learner and the teacher. One to one lessons cause a limitation to the range of activities that would otherwise be available in a group setting. Student groups can be divided into smaller groups to engage in a multitude of activities that would be beneficial to the learning progress. On the other hand, one to one teaching requires all activities to be run between just teacher and student. This can be problematic for numerous reasons: boredom and a negative teacher-student relationship. Following this, the teacher-student relationship is extremely critical in ensuring an adequate teaching environment. With a one to one teaching setting, there is high risk in the possibility of a personality clash between the teacher and student. Every so often, the teacher and student will not get along and this causes disruption in the learning progress. In such a case, it becomes even more difficult for the teacher to fulfill their role of a counselor in the life of their student. Albeit, some teachers are not suited to take on that counselling role and are unable to cope in a one to one setting as maintaining a close relationship with their student can be overbearing. A final and arguably the strongest disadvantage of one to one teaching is the lack of interaction, which is particularly essential in learning a language. Social interaction is an area where a group setting has a winning advantage. The need for support, especially in a group where every individual is experiencing something identical is prime to learning a language. One to one teaching means that not only will the student be unable to interact with others and learn from others in a productive group dynamic, it will be difficult for the teacher to monitor the student’s progress as there are no other students with work to be compared. There is also no specific syllabus available. Conclusively, benefits and costs exist in a one to one teaching setting and the decision to teach students in a group or individually, on a one to one basis is dependent on the teacher’s ability to bring out the best in the student(s). REFERENCES: Grasha, A. (2002). The Dynamics of One-on-One Teaching. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Jun. 2019].