Teach English in Lucheng Zhen - Yueyang Shi

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There are particular advantages and disadvantages of teaching on a one-to-one basis. The advantages, from the student’s perspective, are; - He/she has the undivided attention of the teacher; - The timing, pace and content of lessons can be tailored to suit his or her needs; - He/she has more of an opportunity to use the teacher as a resource – to ask questions and use their skills; - He/she can develop a more useful and productive relationship with the teacher. From the teacher’s perspective, the advantages are; - He/she should have a better understanding of the student’s needs than in a large group; - There is more flexibility as to the timing and structure of lessons; - He/she can build a closer relationship with the student; - He/she does not have ‘large group problems’, such as students of mixed ability, group dynamics, early finishers and late arrivals; - He/she can work independently of an institution and can make more money. The advantages that are common to both student and teacher are; - It is easier for both student and teacher to give immediate feedback on any matter; - The course content can be personalized to draw from the student’s own interests and experiences; - The class environment is less intimidating; - More rapid progress can be made than might be possible with a large group. However, there are also disadvantages of one-on-one learning, summarised below. The disadvantages from the perspective of the student are; - He/she may be more comfortable in a group rather than one-on-one with a teacher; - The increased cost of a one-on-one lesson; - There may not be enough time for ‘silent study’, an important component in processing a new language. The disadvantages from the teacher’s point of view are; - It may be difficult to find suitable materials for an effective course, depending on the student’s needs; - It is more difficult to measure the student’s progress without the benchmark of other students against which to measure him/her; - Certain teaching techniques are not available, such as group work and peer correction; - Unique strategies or approaches to the lesson to suit the individual student are needed, which would require unique course materials, that may need to be sourced individually, which could be more costly and time-consuming; - The problems in group lessons can be exaggerated in a one-on-one environment – if the student is tired, anxious, rude, demanding, lacking confidence or unmotivated the teacher faces a greater challenge than if these traits are exhibited by only one or two students in a group; - Late cancellations and no-shows pose a greater problem in one-on-ones; - There may be additional pressure to achieve results because of the increased cost and the greater sense of responsibility; - There are no opportunities for group dynamics and interaction with other learners in the lessons. The disadvantages that are common to both the student and the teacher are; - Greater intensity in one-on-one lessons – teachers and students have to concentrate far more than in a group lesson, causing both to be more tired; - Personality clashes leading to an environment in which neither student or teacher enjoys the lesson or looks forward to the next one; - Either the student or the teacher (or both) may use the class to do things other than learn what he/she is there to learn/teach and may simply come to the lesson to chat or be otherwise distracted. Gaining the benefits of one-on-one learning while minimizing the negatives means that the teacher needs to find a successful strategy for one-on-one learning. The following points should be considered; - Discuss student needs and get agreement with the student on what they want to learn. The teacher should resist designing a one-to-one course until the needs analysis is completed; - Throughout the course the teacher should explain what he/she is doing and why; - The teacher should encourage the student to ask questions; - The teacher should work hard to gain a rapport with the student. Plenty of patience and empathy with the student is required; - The teacher needs to be flexible and be prepared to change tack with the course, teaching methods and teaching materials at any time; - The teacher needs to be prepared to try a range of methods and techniques – there are many things that can be done in pairs that can also be done with participation from the teacher, such as songs, games, chants, pair work, jigsaw listening and reading; - The teacher needs to make every effort to understand the student’s working and learning style and adapt to suit their style; - Variety in the lessons is important in one-on-ones, especially for young children with a short attention span; - The teacher should get regular feedback, both about the course and about his/her teaching style. They need to make sure the student is comfortable with what they are being taught and the way they are being taught it; - The teacher needs to ensure that limits are set, as one-on-one classes can be very personal. The teacher needs to ensure that this does not venture into personal areas that would make either party feel uncomfortable; - The teacher should use working one-on-one to their advantage. In particular, by spending time on student errors there is an opportunity for faster learning; - The teacher should not be afraid of using silence for an activity – this gives space and thinking time for the student and a respite for both from the intensity of the lesson. The role of a one-on-one teacher is that of a listener, a conversationalist, observer, feedback partner, mentor and guide and goes well beyond that of a teacher in a conventional classroom environment.