TEFL Belltown Delaware

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Most efl/esl teachers are usually trained to teach groups of students, and take it for granted they will be teaching classes with more than one student. However, as the efl industry has witnessed an increasing demand for one-to-one lessons in the recent years (ITTT Unit 19, p.3), many of us could be asked to give private tutoring for individual students at some point in our career. In this context, there are important differences between teaching groups and teaching one-to-one that teachers should be aware of. The purpose of this article is to explore these differences by highlighting the advantages and the disadvantages of both situations. One important advantage of teaching one-to-one is that the teacher can fully address the student's own needs and weaknesses. Students in groups rarely benefit from this advantage, as the teacher can mostly afford to cater for the common needs of the class; of course, the smaller the class is, the more the teacher will be able to focus on individual needs. According to the Natural Method suggested by Stephen Krashen, learners acquire language best through the modified input of the teacher; in this scope, it's easier for a teacher to adapt his/her language to the level of one student and to maximize the amount and type of input to benefit the student. (Meldrum and Clandfield) It would be very hard for a teacher to do so with a class of mixed ability, which is another obstacle teachers wouldn't have to face in a one-to-one class. In addition, it's a lot easier to monitor one student's progress and activities than it is to monitor a class. Students taking private lessons have more opportunity to learn at their own pace, in a less formal setting; they have the teacher's constant attention, which allows them to interact more in english than they might in a group situation. Another advantage for tutors teaching one-to-one is that they can earn more money if they work on their own (not if they are employed at a school!). Moreover, their class schedules are often more flexible; students, especially business clients, are likely to cancel or postpone their class because of personal or work-related issues. Joining a class also has its own advantages. Group teaching provides classroom dynamics and a more social learning environment; it gives students the opportunity to create more complex dialogues, to explore relationships between characters, to pool knowledge together and learn from one another. Additionally, classes offer a better chance for self or peer correction, and for discussions on a wider range of thoughts and opinions. (Maille, 2012) Although students in one-to-one classes may contribute to the lesson and feel part of the learning process by bringing their own material like books, songs, articles, etc., there are a lot more activities available for groups. In fact, most course books are tailored for classes of several students rather than individual students, and groups can benefit from numerous activities including pair work and group work, which are ruled out in one-to-one classes (however, some pair work activities could be given if the teacher becomes the student's partner). Joining a class could be cheaper (http://www.squidoo.com/group-tutoring-vs-one-on-one-tutoring), a lot more fun and varied than taking a one-to-one class, which can sometimes become boring if the teacher doesn't care to come up with new activities on his/her own all the time. In this sense, teaching a group could be less tiring for the teacher than teaching individual students. Another advantage for teachers of groups is that it is easier to measure the students' progress by comparing their performances. (Meldrum and Clandfield) Finally, I've noticed it was a lot easier to increase the pace of the lesson when teaching a group, (especially if the teacher has time constraints), as students could help each other during pair work or group activities; it certainly is faster and less frustrating for the students than having to dwell on the lesson alone with the teacher. In conclusion, there are many differences between teaching groups and teaching one-to-one to be considered, and both situations have advantages and drawbacks for teachers and students. Nonetheless, it is crucial that teachers be able to use their skills and creativity to adapt to either situation, and to offer their students a fun and positive learning experience. References Group Tutoring vs. One-to-one Tutoring. Retrieved from http://www.squidoo.com/group-tutoring-vs-one-on-one-tutoring Maille, M. N. (2012). esl Teaching – Groups v One-to-One. Retrieved from http://www.en234.com/Reference_and_Education/Languages/19009.html Meldrum, N. & Clandfield, L. One-to-one: Methodology – Advantages and disadvantages for students. Retrieved from http://www.onestopenglish.com/business/teaching-approaches/teaching-one-to-one/methodology/one-to-one-methodology-advantages-and-disadvantages-for-students/144655.article Unit 19 - Teaching special groups. International TEFL and TESOL training.