Teaching One to One / 1-2-1
Many teachers at some time in their career have to teach one to one classes. They find this situation a very different, challenging experience. With this in mind, a teacher wrote to me last week for some advice on teaching on a one to one basis, they had some problems, including added pressure from the students parents. Here is my response:
'I am teaching a boy in South Korea but he’s just not interested. He pays no attention to me, says he doesn’t like English and goes off to play with his toys. What can I do?'
This boy may be afraid of failure, or he may have been put off learning English from too much pressure from parents. That said you still need to find a way to attract him and make him want to learn with you.
I would try this: scrap the idea of wanting him to be interested in learning English and instead spend the hour playing with him. I have tried this with my nephew and once we played with all his cars in his bedroom and we made a Channel Tunnel crash. We piled up the cars, made massive tail-backs, the helicopters and fire-engines were there and the scenario developed.
Now, you must be thinking – how does this help me teach him English? Playing in English can help a reluctant child learn.
While you are playing together you can be naming things in English, like “here comes the ambulance.” Ask him, “where shall we put the ambulance?” Give him the ambulance to place in the scene – without expecting him to say anything in English (that’s the key)!
Once you build up a rapport together you’ll be able to line up all the toys. Then he has to name a toy in order to get it, and make up a scene with it. Talk to the parents first, explain what you plan to do and why and see if they would agree to it.’
Watch the video here for more ways to get started on teaching English using fun games and skits.
Play games that HE likes, and find ways to bring English into them. He might like aiming at objects or throwing them in a bin. Do that together whilst you speak English and he aims at the objects, or picks up the objects that you name. Just don’t expect him to speak in English yet. Focus on building his trust.
In our shop you can download our fun ESL games for 1-2-1 teaching for children or get the paperback from Amazon.