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Typically, students who want to have a one to one lesson, fall into several categories: The student who has reached a fairly high level of English but who does not wish to continue or commit to another class based course. Whilst they are likely to want to keep up their acquired knowledge they are probably more interested in conversational English for an hour or so every week. The student who is perhaps falling behind in his studies and needs extra lessons to tackle the problem areas. The student who has a particular goal or job prospect in mind. This student would require a needs analysis from the teacher. There are pros and cons for the student and the teacher. For the student the advantages are: The teacher addresses the individual learning needs of the student. Flexibility in terms of location, time and content for example. The student can go at his own pace. Student input is much greater than in a classroom. Teachers and students tend to establish a good rapport. Students can voice their preferences about activities and topics. On the other hand, the disadvantages for the student are that: Lessons are usually much more expensive compared to group classes. The student and teacher may not get on well. The student will not experience the classroom dynamic. ie. pair work, group discussion, pair checking..generally working as a team. They can feel rather isolated and are unable to meet any new friends. From the students point of view one-to-one lessons offer a lot to consider and this is no less true for the teacher. Your own personality, experience and circumstances affect your decision regarding this type of work. On the whole, one-to-one lessons can be very rewarding as long as you and the student monitor progress regularly. For the teacher the pros and cons are: The financial rewards are usually much higher. However this must be balanced with possible extra overheads. For example the cost of travelling to the the site of the lesson and although you may receive a better hourly rate of pay cancellations are notoriously frequent in one-to-one teaching, which might suggest that some form of prepayment for a course of lessons may be in order. Where to have the lesson. This can work as both an advantage or disadvantage. On the plus side is the flexibility of being able to choose a location. It doesn’t have to be the same place for every lesson. Plan lessons around a museum visit, going to a cafe, shopping in the market, infact anywhere that engages the student. The choice to have the lesson at your own home or the students home poses obvious risks, especially if you are going to be alone with the student and is perhaps an option that should be given very careful consideration especially if you are in a totally different culture. The relationship between the student and teacher can be very good and extremely rewarding. However, if you meet a boring or obnoxious student it can be very hard work. The teacher is often viewed as a shoulder to lean on by the student and the teacher must be prepared to act as a sort counselling service as well Plans often need to be rescheduled as it is much easier to wander off the teaching plan in a private lesson than in the classroom. Materials need to be plentiful and varied to maintain the students interest. Planning a one-to one lesson is much the same as planning a lesson for a group of students but you should keep certain things in mind. Have clear aims for the short and long term and review them often. Carry out a detailed needs analysis via an interview before the course and find out more about the students hobbies, interests, food preferences, family etc. In other words start to build a rapport with the student. Have a course book which you may not use extensively but have it on hand because it will show that you have a structured approach to the course and the student will be able to develop study skills from it, particularly if he has been out of education for many years. Revise previous topics a lot but remember that for the student a one-to-one lesson is far more intensive than a group lesson and he can only absorb so much at a time. Remember that when you are playing the speaker in a role play scenario for example, it is easy to forget to monitor the student’s errors. Feedback and correction sessions are as important as in a group lesson. Teaching one-to-one lessons are not for everyone but they can be extremely rewarding in many ways as long as these considerations are taken into account and acted upon appropriately.