Since I started my teaching career in 2002 I have been facing one and only question all the time. And my answer has always been almost the same.
OK, now let’s get started. From time to time a student comes and asks me –
- Akmal aka should I study English with a private teacher one to one or is it better to study in a group?
Now before I give my own, personal and honest … I mean really honest opinion proven in my own teaching experience I always feel they already have the answer to that question. They just love asking. I am serious. I think 99 % of the students love asking this question.
What is the point?
Let’s get back to that question. So as I said they go like –
- Akmal aka you have been teaching English a lot and what do you think I should do? Study with a private tutor or in a group?
- Study in a group.
- Why? In a group, I cannot go fast. I don’t have time. I must get IELTS 6, 7 in one year bla bla bla.
So you understood right? This is how it goes all the time. And it is just pointless. So now let me answer that question properly and explain you everything.
If you can’t decide how to study – one to one or in the group – here what I got to say to you.
Study in the group. Yeah … I am serious. Let me tell you why.
1. It is more fun
If you study in the group your experience is more likely to be interesting, exciting and vibrant because you will be working with other amazing people like yourself. I am sure you have heard about Classroom Activities. A teacher divides students into small groups, gives them 10-15 minutes to prepare something working with each other using their creativity, fantasy and knowledge.
Then they should come up, present and explain their ideas to everyone. Then students ask questions (sometimes funny questions) and they should answer. Sometimes questions are difficult and then they (students who are presenting) should think hard and do their best to respond.
Now such kinds of activities are mostly possible and they work best with at least 10 students. You cannot do it if you want to learn English one to one with one private tutor. I know working with a private tutor is also great and fun but it is not as fun as it is in the group.
I taught students one to one for almost 3-4 years and to be honest I enjoy teaching in groups rather than one to one. Reasons? I explained you above.
2. You can speak more
Now oftentimes I hear students saying “Oh Akmal aka you know if I study in a group I cannot have a lot of practice for myself”. Yeah, of course, that’s true if you sit somewhere in the corner of the classroom with your mouth open and wait for the teacher to come and make you speak.
C’mo…..n wake up, will you? If you want to practise your English and improve your skills, you should try hard and never stop. Don’t wait for the people to come and help you because nobody will come.
Now back to the point. Study in the group and don’t worry that you will have not enough chance to practice your language. Believe me, you will actually have more chance to practise. How? Let me explain you.
Above I have explained to you that if your teacher divides you into small groups you work with the other students. When you work like that, don’t speak Uzbek or Russian. Speak English to maximize your chance to practice your language skills. When it is time to come up and make a presentation, try to be the one who delivers a speech.
If that position is already taken, talk to your group members and divide your presentation speech into several parts and get one of the parts yourself. When the presentation is over, invite people to ask you questions. And answer the question ending it with a question so that the person who asked you questions will also have to say something.
Pick up something from what he/she says and disagree. Trigger more discussion. This way you create yourself and others a golden opportunity to practice your language. Again such things are not very possible when you are trying to learn English one to one because you have only one person to speak English with. It is your teacher.
- Mmmm… maybe I should study in the group?
3 . You can learn more
You think you cannot learn more if you study in the group, but that’s not always true. You can work with a private tutor one to one and may not learn as much if you just sit and expect your tutor to open your mind and put everything inside.
No … it does not work that way. If you think you cannot learn in the group, don’t blame the group or the teacher. Look for the fault from yourself. It all depends on you. I am telling you it all depends on you.
When I just started learning English I also had problems with finding the best teachers. I used to go from one teacher to another. I wasted my time and energy. And I decided to stop and make myself more disciplined and work.
That changed the way I worked on my English and the way I learnt. Also, there is something important I must say. Many students think that teacher is the only person from whom they can learn. That’s the biggest mistake and totally wrong way of thinking.
You can learn and you should learn from almost everyone. OK… this is about life in general but if you are in the classroom learn from others – your friends. Ask them questions and learn together before you quickly run up to your teacher.
If you see someone does not understand the topic which teacher explained, take time and explain him/her everything in details. Share your knowledge. More you share, more you learn. I am serious. That’s why I became a teacher because more I teach, more I actually learn myself.
Anyway, see what works for you. We are all different. Some of us learn best with a private tutor and some of us learn best in the group. No matter what you choose, make you sure you progress. Slowly but surely.