Next week I start my first ever group class(*). It’s a good incentive to talk about the difference between teaching a group and teaching one-to-one.
By the way, if you’ve never done a group lesson, it works just like a one-to-one, except that everyone in the group gets a short turn, while the others watch and learn.
So what do you get if you go one-to-one? Well, for a start, day and hour is usually more flexible, and if the lessons are taught from the teacher’s home you have access to a wide variety of teaching aids. I’ve been known to go fetch the ironing board, a hammer, a cushion and a garden spade before now (but not in the same lesson!). And I keep an old keyboard and mouse in my teaching room permanently. The obvious difference is time – you get a lot more time to ask the questions you want.
And if you are in a group? Firstly, you get to watch the changes happening in other people. When the teacher asks “Same or different?” it’s usually a lot easier to spot the transformation in someone else, especially for a beginning student. Secondly, I can guarantee the other students will ask questions, and choose activities, that you would never have thought of.
Thirdly, there is some kind of alchemy that goes on when people of a similar level are learning all around you(**). It seems that ideas have space to percolate more. What the others learn, discover and struggle with for themselves sinks in more than anything the teacher can say to you directly. Oh, and you meet some lovely people, and lessons are usually cheaper.
If I was pushed to say which was better, it would have to be the group classes, by a short nose. You learn faster. But we each have to choose what suits us best.
(*) I’ve taught plenty of groups, but always organised by other people. This one is run by me, for better or for worse. If you’re local, it’s in Hood Park Leisure Centre, Ashby, Wednesdays 10.30am – 12pm.
(**) I’ve never discovered how this works, but it does. Drives the teachers nuts.
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