Published 11th December 2019

When you think about it, having a 1-on-1 class is the best idea for a language learning student. In a 1-on-1 class, the student gets all the attention and lessons can be based specifically on their needs and interests. It’s pretty fun for the teacher too, because you don’t need to worry about classroom dynamics or issues of grouping. Instead, you always know you are only going to have one student, which makes planning a dream. Of course, it’s not all fun and games for the teacher. Having one student presents its own set of challenges. As the teacher, you will need to put aside any personality issues you may have, and it can be tricky to encourage participation from a very shy student, but with our top TEFL tips for 1-on-1 classes you will soon love your 1-on-1 lessons.

Tip 1: Realia Realia Realia

Realia are a no-brainer for any EFL classroom but they are essential for a 1-on-1 class. Bringing in real-world objects provides a talking point for any lesson and introduces authentic language into the classroom. But realia doesn’t need to be restricted to the content of the lesson. Any item that relates to your life can be brought in to be discussed with your student as a conversation starter. 

Tip 2: Personalisation

Never is personalization more important than when you only have one student! Take the time to get to know your student and tailor your lessons to suit their interests, personality and background. The great thing about personalization is that not only do you ensure your students will be interested in what you are talking about but you can focus on their individual problems and so speed up their progress.

Tip 3: Allow downtime

Just because you only have one student doesn’t mean you or your student needs to be talking all the time. Quiet time is necessary for the student to process what is being taught and digest the language point being discussed. This is not, however, an excuse for you to update your Instagram stories, but it can give you a few moments to reflect on the lesson and prepare the next activities.

Tip 4: Get out the classroom!

Having one student means excursions are a breeze. Consider what outings would be appropriate for the lessons you are planning and ask your student if they would like to go out. Come up with activities your student can complete during the outing and make sure you prepare adequately, as well as debrief afterwards. 

Tip 5: Be quiet!

Having one student in a class, it can be tempting to speak a lot to fill in the gaps. Resist the temptation and don’t be afraid of a bit of quiet time. This is time your student needs to process what they are learning, but you might find a welcome result from this experiment: your student should speak more. When there’s an awkward silence it is natural to try to fill it, so if you don’t, they will.

Tip 6: Have fun

It’s not often that you have such control over what’s going to happen in the classroom but it’s easier to make predictions for the 1-on-1 classroom than usual. Take advantage of that and relax a bit in terms of your planning or your schedule. Embrace the opportunity to be a bit more relaxed in your approach.

Teaching any class has its advantages and disadvantages but teaching 1-on-1 is a special situation. It is a time when you can really focus on your student and design lessons which suit both you and your student.

    1. Hello Agnes, I will be able to provide limited assistance with your job search unless you did your TEFL course with us. We have a jobs board on our website where you can search for jobs worldwide. You can access the jobs board on our website through the following link: https://www.theteflacademy.com/tefl-jobs. I would also recommend searching through Google for other ESL job sites. We do have a range of internship and volunteer programs that you can apply for though our website at the following links: https://www.theteflacademy.com/internships and https://www.theteflacademy.com/volunteer. I hope you find this helpful and I wish you all the best with your search. 🙂

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