The purpose of one-on-one coaching is to assist students to learn on their own. Lectures should be customized to address the learner’s need and should be provided only when necessary. In this setting, a tutor should guide the student to the correct answer, always provide a feedback at the end of the lesson.
In a class, there are students who are ahead, average, and those who fall behind. These are those learners that are uninterested or discouraged and need one-on-one coaching to keep in sync with the lectures.
A student who requests one-on-one tutoring is definitely interested in learning English. This type of set-up will help him overcome the factors that block his path towards his goal. It can be, that he is shy and wouldn’t want to talk in class. He is afraid of being ridiculed by his peers when he commits a mistake.
Individual coaching should be mutually beneficial to both tutor and learner. Knowing the learner’s need and how to accomplish that objective, both can focus on the one-on-one lesson to achieve quick results. Here are some methods on how to achieve this:
Build rapport by starting the meeting with greetings and small talk for the first fifteen minutes. Allot some five minutes for review of the lecture or the homework, if you have assigned one. For the next fifteen minutes allow the learner to speak about their experiences inside or outside the class. Take ten minutes in discussing some new lessons which will prepare the learner for the next class. Leave the last fifteen minutes for coaching the learner’s mistakes; it can be in comprehension, pronunciation, or word meaning. Once you have a structure in place you have control of the time even if the discussion takes a side trip.
Learn your student’s goal
Some students want individual coaching to improve their conversational skills, but most people want to study the English language for educational or career purposes. Depending on their need, you have to provide materials to achieve their goal. If the student plan to attend a University, consider using paperbacks or view online lectures. It can be an assignment or you can both work on them during the session. By making the lessons applicable to their goals, your student will feel that their time was well spent.
It often happens that what you had planned doesn’t materialize. The tutor should be flexible enough to handle any eventuality on what the student might bring to the table. Respect any questions or discussions that might crop up that wasn’t expected. After all, you are the professional and you should guide your learner to their need. It doesn’t mean that you are bending back and allowing the student to dominate the session. Be creative to walk the thin line between your student’s wants and needs, remember that they are your client and you want to keep them happy.
Patience is a virtue
ESL learners have foreign accents which a tutor might find hard to understand; uses incorrect words; and mostly everything is topsy-turvy. Be patient and control your emotions, this is where your professionalism comes into play. Explain to your student the importance of practice to get things right. Take baby steps, do not beat the foreign accents out of your student.