One on One Individual ESL / EFL Lessons

Hi Elissa,
Yes one -on -one lessons can sometimes be seen as the toughest as it’s difficult to do much communication, and also the most difficult to give ideas for as it very much depends on your students.  But this is also the strength!  And unlike regular classes it is a prime opportunity to customize the class to exactly what the student needs and how they learn.
A couple of ideas I always recommend are to get out of the classroom,  go shopping, go round town etc. and learn the English for what you do or see.
Or find out the hobbies and interests of the student and watch Yotuube videos, download magazine articles etc.  to go through in class.
Computer games can also really be good, especially two player ones where you have to communicate.
I’d also recommend the Genki English computer games as homework as they are the quickest way of learning the key language before the lesson,  but you could use those in class as well if homework time was tight.
The key though is to personalise everything, make it like what the student would be doing in their free time, but just do it in English.  It’s amazing what you can cover and it should hopefully make the parents really happy!

Hi Elissa,

Elissa wrote in to ask for ideas for individual “one on one” lessons.  Here’s my reply:

Yes one -on -one lessons can sometimes be seen as the toughest as it’s difficult to do much communication, and also the most difficult to give ideas for as it very much depends on your student.

But this is also the strength!  And unlike regular classes it is a prime opportunity to customize the class to exactly what the student needs and how they learn.

A couple of ideas I always recommend are to get out of the classroom,  go shopping, go round town etc. and learn the English for what you do or see.

Or find out the hobbies and interests of the student and watch Yotuube videos, download magazine articles etc.  to go through in class.

Computer games can also really be good, especially two player ones where you have to communicate.

I’d also recommend the Genki English computer games as homework as they are the quickest way of learning the key language before the lesson,  but you could use those in class as well if homework time was tight.

The key though is to personalise everything, make it like what the student would be doing in their free time, but just do it in English.  It’s amazing what you can cover and it should hopefully make the parents really happy!

Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

2 Responses to “One on One Individual ESL / EFL Lessons”

  1. Margit

    I think the most difficult and most important thing in one-to-one lessons is to set THE PRICE.
    Mentally it costs so much more energy to teach individually that I think the teacher in total needs to be paid at least half more than in a group lesson.
    At the same time in a group you can split the price , (you want lets say 50 dollars for one lesson, with 5 students it’s 10 dollars each, whereas for one person it would be more than 50 dollar as for single your work and input is so much more)

    So again the student wants to take home that much worth of knowledge. Its a vicious circle, I feel.

    So, -sorry, this is not an answer at all to the question- I either charge a lot, and prepare very well, or , and this is what I enjoy much more, I have the student bring a friend along (if they want they’ll always find someone) and with two it’s already much different.

  2. Amri

    I do one-to-one lessons sometimes and you should see the eyes of my student when I get my laptop out and have her pay a genki computer game!! She just loves them and it is a change from the usual things. One must always try to keep the students focussed and interested with different activities. Getting out of the house is also a nice thing to do. I should consider that for a future lesson. it’s been a long time I did this.

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