Teach English in XinzhuAng Zhen - Suqian Shi

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The art of teaching is unique for each individual and the sole factor of different students can irrefutably affect the final outcome of any circumstance. However I find that the benefits and challenges of these two contrasting situations are worth exploring. Firstly, the obvious difference are the number of students involved, having one to one lessons means having flexibility in one’s schedule. Which is not often the case with groups since everyone needs to be available for each lesson, that can become more and more complicated to achieve the older the students get since they often already have their life packed with their work and personal life. The size of a group lesson can sometimes easily create opportunities for students to get bored if the teacher is not careful. A way of avoiding this is by using tailored materials that are of interests to the students after getting to know them individually, which will inevitably take more time with a group. Also, there is the matter of not everyone has the same interest which will complicate satisfying the class as a whole for each lesson. Including every student equally is a challenge but there are a number of techniques to maximise student involvement. Such as pair or small group work, choral repetition, using worksheets and appointing group leaders to help with classroom management. Meanwhile, one student is more than manageable to get to know quickly and to engage with since he is the only one getting all of the attention, rapport and respect can be built much faster and hence the student can improve at their own pace. Pace wise, individual students tend to get through materials more quickly than groups, hence preparing more material than needed is always advised. Even for groups, if one or a few students learn quicker than the others, than it might come in handy to keep them working while the rest of the class finish their initial task. In addition, varying levels within the same group can sometimes appear like mentioned above with quick learners. There are a few techniques that most teachers mix up and adopt for a smooth progress throughout the class. Firstly, doing nothing which prevents the gap in level to increase. Then, using the same activities with the same materials but varying in tasks by giving the stronger students more complicated tasks that are appropriate to their level. And finally, pairing stronger and weaker students together to allow them to assist, explain or clarify anything that might need it. With the teacher keeping an eye on things so that the stronger students don’t dominate and do all of the work or let the weaker students cruise by. Everything is about having a balanced and supportive environment to help each student excel at their own pace. In a one to one session the teacher can easily stay in control of how much the student’s mother tongue is used, by making sure that the activities are at an appropriate level, not responding until it is said in English and constantly encouraging communicating in English even if the grammar isn’t perfect. However that can be another risk of groups since if the teacher is inexperienced it can become overwhelming to have ‘eyes everywhere’, to encourage as well as motivate students to speak freely in front of an ‘audience’. Nevertheless being surrounded by students can sometimes greatly benefit since group ideas and discussions can really help a class flourish in terms of variety and dynamics. An experienced teacher will be able to use these at their advantage to organise entertaining classes. On the other hand, being the only student can become lonely, they won’t have any interactions or role play with other students of their level, nor any support or help from their peers. The teacher is obviously always there to give advice and correct English but it might be intimidating for some students to constantly be the centre of attention. Furthermore, being just one student and the teacher needs special attention since activities differ drastically from most group activities or warmers. Even though a lot can be adapted it still requires greater preparation since group classes are more common. Despite one to one lessons becoming more popular as students feel that the course can be more specifically orientated towards their own needs and goals than a group could. In terms of planning, the methodology of Engage-Study-Activate (ESA) will still be relevant in both circumstances, the only difference like mentioned would be the warmers and activities selected for covering the same material since the numbers can affect them. But other than that, everything else should be covered in the lesson plan as well as self evaluation forms to monitor the teachers strength and weaknesses that will help improve themselves to develop. Lastly, ongoing feedback will considerably help in providing the students with the information they need to evaluate their own level and progress for both situation. For one to one lessons, the students progress should be evident since the teacher is constantly seeing their level as they complete worksheets or accomplish accurate or fluent communication in activities. Tutorials is the most appropriate way of letting the student genuinely express how he feels he is doing, whether he is struggling, if it is too easy or just right. It will all in turn help the teacher prepare for the lessons to come to make sure that it meets the needs of the students more accurately. In comparison, most group lessons take place within institutions that might have compulsory evaluations to make sure that all of the students are on track. Most teachers would give regular short test and then a more formal longer one at the end of each term to let the students be aware of which chapter needs revision and others just light reminders. Individual tutorials for a group would take too much time so an evaluation form or questionnaire would be more approachable for efficiency. Also, this allows for a tutorial if needed to clarify a question or a problem that a student has arisen. In the end no matter what the advantages and disadvantages may be for the teacher, if the solo student is unmotivated, has problem behaviour and is unpunctual, the experience might be easier, no matter how inexperienced and on edge the teacher may be, teaching a group of motivated and well behaved students.