Intensive English courses are not just more hours of class time
When choosing to study English, a group setting can offer many advantages to the learners and to the teacher as well. Although many language schools promote one-to-one classes, classroom settings also offer many benefits to the students such as: more speaking time amongst classmates, a sense of achievement for doing team work, the progress of students not only as language learners but also on a personal basis as leaders within a group and it allows the teacher to walk around the classroom and monitor progress.
One of the main advantages of a group language class is social interaction. Contrarily to one-to-one classes, the students have the opportunity to interact with more than just one person. The teacher can organize the lesson so as to make the learners work with different partners each time and therefore get them used to different working styles as well. After all, making mistakes and learning a new language can only happen through communication with others. An intensive English course based purely on additional hours of class time will not facilitate this communication.
As mentioned above, in the case of group classroom settings, it allows the students to interact with people who may be at different levels. The learners get to feed off each other and in turn they can complement the missing information that another student does not know, therefore teaching each other. After all, it is said that a learner only thoroughly knows a concept or topic when he/she is able to explain it to someone else.
Additionally, as they work in pairs or groups cooperatively to practice the language, they develop of a sense of team and achieve something as a group. It gives them a sense of belonging which is something that it not necessarily developed in a one-to-one setting. Working in a group and practicing the new language also allows the learners to develop skills which are needed in the real world such as working out a problem through discussion to be able to complete the activity or even being able to manage and break down activities into smaller parts to accomplish the final goal on time. An intensive English course based on additional hours will not allow time or energy for this.
Another benefit to learning a language in a group setting is that the students have more freedom with activities to become creative and explore with the language. Although they are still guided by the teacher, once they are put into groups they are given more control of their language production.
As mentioned above, another advantage of group language classes is that students can collaborate to tackle more complex activities than they might be able to on their own. When the learners work in groups, all their knowledge is thrown into a pool and they don’t rely on the teacher to guide them. You may not be with the teacher 100% of class time but the interaction still offers an intensive English course.
Some people say that when students are learning a new language they should interact with the teacher the most possible in order to increase the feedback and that doing group activities decreases their interaction with the teacher. On the contrary, the group work time in a language setting allows the teacher to walk around and monitor progress and see if the learners have understood what was just taught. Unfortunately, in one-to-one language classes the teacher does not really have the opportunity to monitor the students work from a distance as he/she is the only form of interaction. The teacher is always conversing with the student to diagnose the learner’s progress. On the other hand, it is beneficial that students be put into groups to practice and produce what has been taught in the teacher presentation. By putting the students into groups and not working directly with the teacher, students sometimes feel less pressure and more at ease which can be advantageous to their learning.
MovingOn Courses offers intensive small group English courses which are beneficial to the students and assure them of the teacher’s undivided attention. Not only do students get to learn and practice their English in class but, by sharing the accommodation with the teachers, the students have the opportunity to maximize their speaking time and develop fluency.
All in all, we recommend the group situation over a one to one class becasue the course can still be an intensive English course but this is lost if the groups are too big.