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Differences between teaching from home and in the classroom

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  • johnfinlay
    10 October, 2010 at 18:15
    • Total posts: 5


    I have some good experience teaching classes in language schools (generally around 16 students), I am going to start doing private one-to-one lessons from home too. I was just wondering what the general differences are in how you went about teaching your lessons? Is there more concentration on certain aspects like conversation? Would you do less of some things? For example I imagine you wouldn’t set a 25 minute writing exercise in a on-to-one lesson, where as you could get away with it in a classroom.

    Any help on this or any other general tips for a teacher new to home tuition lessons.



    20 October, 2010 at 17:36
    • Total posts: 12

    Reply To: Differences between teaching from home and in the classroom

    Hi John,

    I’m happy to give you some tips on home tuition although being a newbie myself I’m looking for some more advice too!
    What is good about one to one tuition is that you can tailor the course to the student. In the first lessons I ask what the student wants to concentrate on and then I make sure that in each subsequent lesson I address their particular needs. My lessons are generally a mix of a bit of conversation on the topic we are doing, a listening exercise, a reading exercise and maybe a fun quiz or game to round the lesson off. I set the student a task for homework and then we look at that in the next lesson as a starting point. I hope that helps! I sometimes use my own materials or sometimes I use bits from coursebooks, it all depends on what the student wants.

    Good luck with it!

    21 October, 2010 at 9:17
    • Total posts: 647

    Reply To: Differences between teaching from home and in the classroom

    Hi John

    mexicochick is absolutely right, you can tailor the class much more to the individual student’s needs, learning style and interests:

    – In terms of needs, spend the first class really getting to know your student and what he/she needs and then plan the course accordingly.
    – In terms of interests, choose contexts for your lessons that the student will respond to – if he/she loves movies, use that to your advantage – present language points and have follow-up discussions in that context.
    – In terms of learning style, you’ll get to know this as you go along – what kinds of task and activity does he/she respond to, and which make him/her switch off?!

    It also allows you to "go with the flow" to a much greater extent than you can with a group. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan, but it does mean that if something comes up during the class and you spend the rest of the lesson dealing with that, rather than what you had planned, then that’s fine.

    Your point about setting a 25 minute writing task is a good one – you will want to spend as much of the class as possible with tasks where the student is interacting with you. If the writing task is very guided, with input from you as the student goes along, then this could be fine, but a student who is paying by the hour for private tuition probably won’t appreciate spending half that time doing something by himself that he could do at home!

    Hope that helps.


    26 November, 2010 at 14:51
    • Total posts: 5

    Reply To: Differences between teaching from home and in the classroom


    Thanks for your replies.

    I just thought I’d give you an update….

    I’ve been teaching one student for a few hours a week for the last 6 weeks or so (I have another job too, I’m not stupidly idle). Anyway, it’s going great and I enjoy it much more than teaching a larger group in a classroom. All the lessons are focused on him and I just ask him what he wants to do next week and we do that. He’s already improved remarkably in pronunciation (which is all we’ve been doing really) and he says he feels so much more confident now.

    So I couldn’t rate one-on-one teaching highly enough. It works especially well if you have another job and just want a bit of extra cash each week, which is what I am doing. I suppose a major draw-back is that it isn’t reliable and students can easily cancel on you and also, it can prove quite difficult to find the students in the first place.

    But if anybody wants any tips on one-on-one teaching, please ask. I’ve been doing loads on pronunciation. For example, difference between l and r, -ed, stress etc.



    5 December, 2010 at 10:39
    • Total posts: 5

    Reply To: Differences between teaching from home and in the classroom

    I taught private lessons in Khartoum to two children and used a goal oriented approach to help them focus on their spelling, pronunciation etc. This is a good way of getting experience and cash. However, I would recommend that you ask the parents to pay for 1 month in advance-as when they cancel in the last minute you not only lose cash but time.

    5 December, 2010 at 12:23
    • Total posts: 4

    Reply To: Differences between teaching from home and in the classroom

    When I teach private classes at home I try to avoid it becoming a friendly chat. Some people just want that though and to practice their English. If this is the case then I make notes writing down all new vocab and grammar issues as we go. At the end of the class I go over the points for 10 minutes and then give the student the notes to go away with. That reenforces what we covered and the student feels they had a proper lesson and the teacher earned their money.

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