Teach English in Taiping Zhen - Suqian Shi

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Nowadays the teaching process became very versatile based on students’ needs and availability, financial resources, etc. There exist different types of teaching, such as: online, one to one or group teaching. All of them have their strong and weak points and in this essay we intend to analyze the difference between teaching “one to one” and groups. The most common way of teaching in different institutions is group teaching, either in schools, language schools or companies. This method is so widespread because of its numerous advantages. First of all, there is a huge variety of materials and activities designed for a large number of students and the teacher doesn’t have to adapt them drastically to the target class. Moreover, while working in pairs or groups the learners have the opportunity to interact with different people and it makes the learning process more interesting and entertaining. On the others side teaching “one to one” can be a bit challenging for the teacher because he/she has to be very resourceful since not all the activities and materials can be adapted to pair work. Since there is no interaction with somebody else rather than the teacher, the student might feel a bit pressured to do things the right way or to answer correctly while speaking just with the teacher. In this regard group teaching might help students feel less pressure when they don’t know something, for instance they can help each other to understand a task or to give an answer, etc. However, comparing the level of students’ motivation in these two types of teaching, it might differ considerably. A student who prefers to work separately with a teacher has a specific aim in mind regarding the course, thus he will be more responsible, diligent and focused during the lesson. His/her level of motivation is very high. It doesn’t mean that learners studying in groups are less motivated, but some of them might lose interest if they don’t like the content of the course or the teacher’s manner of teaching, etc. In addition, some learners come to such courses for self-development or travelling, or just as a hobby and sometimes they might skip classes or be less attentive during the lesson. Classroom management is another aspect that a teacher has to keep in mind while having lessons with a group of people. There should be taken into account such things as: seating arrangements, discipline problems, monitoring, giving instructions, time management, etc. Discipline is a big issue for a big number of students especially when they interact and things might get out of control. Because of it a teacher might not succeed to teach everything that was planned. In contrast, in a “one to one” class there is no need to worry about discipline or seating arrangements since there is just one student. While conducting a “Needs Analysis” the teacher can find out about students’ previous learning experiences, strong and weak points, motivation, and what they really want to learn. By performing this analysis with a group of students the teacher has to take into consideration different answers and make a general conclusion of the common needs of the whole group and not just one. In this case, the teacher might skip an aspect mentioned just by one student because it was not relevant to the others. Hence, the materials and activities will be adapted to the common needs of the class. In contrast, conducting a “Needs Analysis” with just one student is much easier since there are taken into account all the details mentioned by the learner. Therefore, the teacher has a clear idea of the kind of activities he/she should bring to the class and what are the specific points they should work on. Feedback is another aspect to consider while teaching groups and “one to one”. Giving feedback to a class of students after an activity might be time consuming and sometimes certain things might be skipped in the process because of the big number of students. A teacher cannot pay attention to everybody at the same time. Whereas, in a class with just one student, the teacher can give a thorough feedback to the specific student, thus helping him/her understand clearly what was and wasn’t ok during an activity. In conclusion, I would say that both ways of teaching (1.groups and 2.one to one) have their advantages and disadvantages that were previously analyzed. It already depends on the teacher if he/she is more comfortable working with just one student or more. The most important is to be on the same wavelength with your learner(s) and to have a productive time together.