How to make the most of group activities in one-to-one classes

How to make the most of group activities in one-to-one classes

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Many interesting methods can be used in group English lessons. The popular ones include debates, activating talks, discussions, games and projects. In the case of one-to-one classes, the situation is more difficult because it is necessary to concentrate on one student. It turns out that group activities can be used during one-to-one classes.

Lesson plan for one-to-one classes

During one-to-one classes it is difficult to use pair work, discussions or debates. However, this does not mean that the adult learner only has to read and complete the exercises, as this would be ineffective. A much better solution is a creative approach to the problem and creating interesting activities for the student.

Lesson plan should take advantage of the student’s abilities and skills. A good solution is to simply create a space for a discussion between two, that is, between the teacher and the student. In this way, group methods can be used during one-to-one classes.

A good example is to conduct a discussion for two on a specific topic, and it is best if the topic is vital and tailored to the needs of an adult. You can start a discussion about shortening the working week to 3 or 4 days and ask the student to provide arguments for or against this solution. The teacher should also join the debate and present their arguments, as well as talk about the given topic. After the discussion, it is worth discussing the phrases and words that the student needs.

In a situation where the student is not yet at an advanced level, the teacher may ask for all arguments to be prepared at home. In this way, the student will prepare for classes and learn new words at the same time. The best solution, however, is a live discussion, discussing specific problems and issues, because it teaches openness and good communication.

Role play during one-to-one classes – a great idea for students

When teaching adults, it is a good idea to assign students different roles where they can visualize how other people feel. For example, a teacher can play the role of an employee, and a student the role of an employer. An interesting task may be an interview for a raise, or a negotiation of the number of tasks at a given position. In such a discussion, it is necessary to use more professional phrases and phrases, as well as create more formal sentences. Sample task regarding labor salary negotiation:

  • the student plays the role of an employee and is to talk about a higher salary with the employer;
  • the teacher plays the role of the head of a given department and is not willing to award a higher salary;
  • the student receives specific information about his position, tasks, current salary;
  • then both people have a discussion and try to convince each other of their arguments.

Focus on the real world, not on fictional tasks

When learning adults, it is very important to focus on reality, specific life tasks, personal and professional matters. Fictional tasks not related to the student’s everyday life work much worse. Examples of tasks that can be used in the context of group methods during one-to-one classes include:

  • the student is to call and order a pizza or other takeaway from a nearby restaurant;
  • the student can talk to his foreign friends in English or book a hotel room;
  • a conversation about an interesting movie or series watched on one of the streaming platforms or on TV;
  • during the trip abroad, the student is to talk to the waiter about the menu and recommended dishes (this can also be included in role play);
  • surprise call, i.e. a surprising phone call to the student on an interesting topic, which has an activating effect and makes the student concentrate on what he wants to convey to the other person.


Teaching adults is different from teaching children and teenagers. It is very important to introduce interactive and creative tasks, as well as referring to the real world, specific needs and everyday situations. In this way, you can teach an adult many useful skills, useful at work, in studies, in business situations or in private life. It is good to introduce group activities during one-to-one classes to stimulate student’s creativity.

About Luke
About Luke

Bicycle enthusiast and movie fan.

Always looking to improve something.

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