There are many differences, advantages and disadvantages between teaching one to one and groups. These differences vary from one teacher
Most schools prefer teaching students in groups; many teacher
s find it difficult to adapt their skills to one to one teaching. Many perhaps most of the personal and pedagogical skills we have developed as language teacher
s relate almost exclusively to working with groups. It can be very challenging for teacher
s to teach one to one, students and teacher
s may feel uncomfortable in a one to one situation. However, most students in the other hand prefer to be taught one to one with the teacher
as they focus and learn more.
The idea of one-to-one teaching often provokes quite extreme reactions in teacher
s. They either love it or hate it. Those in the former category will point to the advantages of working with the linguistic needs of a single learner and the highly focused program that can produce, while those in the latter group will often highlight in a negative way the affective factors that can come into play in the one-to-one classroom. "What if I don't like my student and he or she doesn't like me?" is a commonly heard complaint, as is "I don't want to be stuck in a room for two hours with the same person". Such comments are understandable, of course, but in focusing on these negative aspects it is easy to lose sight of the numerous advantages that one-to-one teaching can offer
One of the main advantages in teaching one to one is that in a one to one lesson we can tailor the class towards the needs, level and capability of the student. We can also teach around topics or situations that the student is familiar with and enjoys. Students can even help to prepare their lesson by supplying materials to aid the lesson. We as teacher
s can learn something too. Students can teach us about their interests, work and experiences.
During a one to one lesson a teacher
can focus most of his/her time and energy on addressing the student's needs and the student will certainly benefit from the increase in attention. Certainly the student will get more attention from the teacher
then in a group setting, especially a large group of mixed ability.
One of the major differences is the decrease in the range of activities a teacher
can use. This means no pair or group work, which can be a bit monotonous for the teacher
, and the student. This may also take the fun out of learning for the student. Student/ teacher
personality differences or opposing opinions can make life difficult as teacher
s are afraid to respond to comments they strongly disagree with. Often schools don't give a syllabus for one-to-one classes so it is more difficult to record and show progress to the student.
One-to-one teaching provides huge benefits in terms of pace and timing. In a class of fifteen or so students, it is difficult to please all of the people all of the time and, no matter what you do, when some students are fully engaged, others may switch off. In the one-to-one classroom, there should be constant feedback on the activities chosen, whether they are relevant and useful and when it is time to move on. Breaks can be taken when it seems appropriate to do so. Both teacher
and student can move around the room as and when the need arises. It might also be appropriate for some time to be spent reading silently, using the dictionary, researching a contentious or problematic grammar point, drafting an e-mail or preparing a presentation.
There is no need for the class to become a constant one-way question and answer session with the questions
all coming from the teacher
. Once trust has been built between teacher
and student, a one-to-one class can be as varied and stimulating as any group class. It can also be incredibly informative for the teacher
who, if he or she is interested enough, can learn a wealth of information about a wide range of professional activities.
Certainly they both have their advantages and disadvantages for both student and teacher
s. It is important as teacher
s that we both adapt and use the skills we have to make both one to one and group learning interesting and fun.