Tailored Tuition for your EFL Students | TEFL Jobs London

Tailored Tuition for your EFL Students

by Donna Hutchinson
Newly-qualified TEFL Teacher, @donnatamara

Recently, I’ve been teaching one-to-one lessons. I suppose I’m somewhat self-taught with them because they weren’t really covered during my CELTA. My only previous experience with private tuition is when, during my GCSEs, I had to get a maths tutor to help me with my ever-failing numeracy skills. At the time, as a petulant 16 year old, I hated those sessions. I already hated maths anyway, let alone being forced by my evil parents to put in extra time after school to do more horrid maths – cue teenage hissy fit. However, I don’t even need to say that looking back now; I can see that they were beneficial. I found that out pretty soon after on results day when I managed to get a B, a significant improvement from the E I’d achieved for my mock GCSE the year before.

So, shall we say I can understand the needs of parents requesting that their child take on extra tuition but at the same time understand the student’s lack of enthusiasm for it. This was my initial feeling on one-to-ones. I thought this must be how it is for all students, like me and my maths tutor. I was quite mistaken. This dynamic is not applicable to all situations. I’ve taught an IELTS student who was so motivated, I actually told her to get some sleep instead of studying so much. Everyone is different and of course there still will be lazy students but aren’t we all, sometimes?

What I find most satisfying about private tuition is identifying that student’s particular skills and pitfalls and finding a way to work with and around them to reach overall improvement. That may sound a little obvious but it is something that can be rather lacking within regular, larger classrooms wherein we work around a consensus. There will always be some students left behind or some who find things too easy. Within private tuition, you can find or devise tasks which are best suited to that student. This may often rule out much of the interactive work within textbooks designed for regular classrooms but it means that with other tasks, you can literally go through step by step if a student is struggling. Furthermore, help the student identify what it is that they’re struggling with and how best to deal with it in a student’s most stressful situation, an IELTS exam.

This week with my new one-to-one student has enabled me to find out more about his struggles but at the same time, the added benefit is that you get to know the student better. This has made me more motivated for next week where I can use the tasks I’ve devised and put together myself in the hope that this will really push his improvement.

I never would have gotten through my maths GCSE without my tutor and I can only aspire to provide the same help to students hoping to get through their IELTS.


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One Response to “Tailored Tuition for your EFL Students”

  1. Jaihanne Abdellatif
    January 31, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    Thanks for sharing your article. I’ve been giving private English lessons to children, since I did my CELTA. It’s hard work, especially if the child isn’t motivated or really struggles to grasp the task in hand. I find that teaching children is more challenging than adults, especially if they lack the foundation or basics and their parents are insisting that you focus on their school English books. I think I have a lot to learn:(