Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

One-to-One English Lessons vs. Group Classes | 5 Key Differences

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 @ 09:12 AM

one to one English lessons new york vs. group classes, scaleSo you are in New York or Boston and you need to improve your English. You aren't sure if one-to-one English lessons or group English classes are the best choice for you. The correct choice is different for everyone. It all comes down to your priorities. Do you have a lot of time in your schedule or very little time available? Are you more concerned about paying a low price or getting a good value? In this post, I will show you 5 key differences between group classes at the large language schools and one-to-one English lessons with a private tutoring company.



5 Key Differences | One-to-One English Lessons and Group Classes:


  • Schedule: For busy international professionals in New York or Boston, it's all about the schedule. Do you want to study during your lunch break? Do you need to take lessons in the evenings after work? Do you need to occasionally reschedule your lesson due to a last minute meeting? If you have a tight schedule but still need to find time to improve your English, think about both flexibility and availability when you make your decision. In most cases, you will be able to get flexibility and wide availability with a private English tutor more than with a group class.


  •  Location: The location of the lesson is also an issue of convenience. If you work in midtown, do you have the time to travel downtown to the location of the school to attend a large group class? If so, maybe group classes are the right choice for you but with one-to-one English lessons, your English teacher can often work with you in your workplace or in a cafe in the area. This gives you no excuses to miss a lesson!


  •  Curriculum: Do you have a specific skill that you need to improve with your English? Do you need to get better at leading a business meeting in English or making a business presentation in English or speaking on the phone in English at work? Do you need English lessons that are created specifically for you? If you prefer a customized curriculum, private lessons are your best choice. If you don't mind working at the same pace as the rest of the class and following a set course plan, group lessons will probably work for you.


  •  Opportunities for Speaking Practice/Teaching Methods: In a one-to-one English lesson, a good teacher usually speaks 20% of the time or less and the student speaks 80% of the time or more. This allows students to practice the new grammar and vocabulary skills that they learn and to become more natural English speakers in a shorter period of time. This is called the communicative method and it is exhausting for the student but it's a great way to learn! In a large group class, you are likely to spend more time practicing English and doing role plays with your classmates, rather than your teacher. If your classmates are from your native country, you might also be tempted to speak in your native language during class breaks which isn't the best way to learn.


  •  Value: When you buy something, do you only look at price? Or do you look at the quality and the value that you will get from that purchase?  For students who are looking for value, one-to-one English lessons offer a convenient schedule and location, customized curriculum and more opportunities for speaking practice. On the other hand, if you are really concerned about saving money, try the group classes. They are certainly cheaper and might be good for you if you have a lot of extra time in your schedule.


Everyone's English learning needs are different. To make the best choice for your English course, figure out your priorities first, then research your options. Good luck!




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Photo credit: winnifredxoxo

Topics: Advice for English Students, How to Learn English, Life in New York, Life in Boston

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