Learning English in a group

Learning English in a group is much more effective than on a one-to-one basis

Learning English in a group or on a one –to- one basis? Which is more effective? Do you think it is reasonable? How can my child learn it with four or five other children? How can the teacher give equal attention to each of them? These are the questions that parents, students and their numerous relatives bombard teachers with, each time they want us to give lessons to their dear children. We often get not only questions but answers which parents hurl at us: “What?In a group? Not my child! My child is going to get his teacher’s full attention! No, I think it’s nonsense and a waste of time and money…!” But dear parents: Why do you send your children to secondary schools, music schools, to different clubs, studios and to higher educational institutions if you don’t want them to be taught in a group? I think learning English in a group has more advantages than leaning it individually and I am going to prove it.

First, if your child learns English in a group, he is sure to get more motivated and enthusiastic about learning it. Modern textbooks, unlike old- fashioned soviet ones, contain a wide choice of activities for learners of different styles and intelligences, which are kind of a clever trick even for those children who dislike doing any kind of work. For example, if a child can’t stand dictations, there are creative writing storms at his disposal, if he doesn’t like listening for the main idea, he might do listening to complete a picture and compare it with his peers. Whereas if he is taught one to one , he won’t have the chance to do writing storms , to complete the picture with his partner , share his ideas or understand what is it that makes other children more motivated. So, he is left to face reading alone, writing alone, listening alone and what is worse speaking alone , though one hour lesson is entirely his and his teacher’s attention as well.

Second , learning in a group contributes to creativity. In a group there are students with different personality characteristics and this variety will bring diversity of ideas. For example, in my reading class students discover things for themselves, but they are open to new ideas which come from their partners, they question these new ideas, they respond to these ideas and learn how to explore and develop them. On the other hand, if a student is left one to one with his teacher, who is he going to discuss with , whose questions and responses is he going to hear? Parents will say teachers should do it and they do lead students to ideas but teachers as mature personalities bring their own experiences, their own style of thinking which can’t be compared with that of their peers. Though one hour lesson is completely his, the student does not know how his peers think , what ideas they have or how they solve the problems posed in their books.

The last but not the least advantage of learning in a group is peer collaboration. Students learn how to support each other, monitor and facilitate. Moreover, peer collaboration helps them to overcome shyness, get rid of complexes and discover leadership qualities in themselves. I have witnessed positive changes in my students’ behaviour after having worked in a group, some of them became more open, others more helpful, third ones more confident. But the happiest part of my teaching life is when I notice the eagerness to express his ideas in my student’s eyes which is thanks to working in a group. As soon as I notice this quality, I know this student will be a monitor,a supporter, a facilitator and a leader In contrast , the student who is without a group is deprived of collaboration and is left to stew in his own juice, though one hour lesson is still his. Parents, if you want your children to be eager to learn English , be able to speak it fluently, and at the same time be original , reflective , supportive and tolerant, decide in favour of groups. Remember: Two heads are better than one!


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