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  1. #1
    jdonovan is offline Newbie
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    Question Help! One on One Class! Im boring them!

    Hi Guys!

    I need your help. I have three one on one classes, all advanced all with executives. They are going well as far as content goes (grammar reviews, conversations, phrasal verbs, etc). However, the classes are all early in the morning, and all of this can get quite boring. With groups Ive always found it easier to stimulate them and get them active. When it is just me and the student, I find it quite difficult. I hate to see them yawn. I really need them to enjoy these classes.

    What I need are ideas. The students are very professional and mature, and I dont know how games would go over with them, but I want to try. I will try anything at this point to keep them interested and engaged. What can I do to break the monotony. What advice do you have? What has proved to be successful in the past.

    Unfortunately very few free resources seem to be available on individual classes. And Im quite broke, living in Mexico teaching English! :)

    Thanks a ton yall!

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Help! One on One Class! Im boring them!

    What level are they and what in particular seems to raise a yawn? Are you working towards any specific target?

  3. #3
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    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Help! One on One Class! Im boring them!

    I'm not a teacher, but I saw an interesting story on the new about how movement affects learning. If it's early morning and they're yawning, could one simple thing be to get up and move? You can even had mnemonics associated with places - as one silly example, this corner of the room for this, this corner for that, this corner for these, this corner for those.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. #4
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Help! One on One Class! Im boring them!

    Quote Originally Posted by jdonovan View Post
    ...

    What I need are ideas. The students are very professional and mature, and I dont know how games would go over with them, but I want to try. I will try anything at this point to keep them interested and engaged. What can I do to break the monotony. What advice do you have? What has proved to be successful in the past.

    Unfortunately very few free resources seem to be available on individual classes. And Im quite broke, living in Mexico teaching English! :)

    Thanks a ton yall!
    Perhaps what you need is to use their ideas. I have had success with this technique: get them to prepare an account of something they do in leisure time, record it, and then go back over the recording discussing it with them from whatever point of view is appropriate (grammar, collocations, pronunciation, choice of lexis...). You don't need a tape recorder for this; any PC will do it. Install the free software Audacity. I found it useful to use a separate microphone - available for a few $$ on eBay.

    But Barb's right. You need to wake them up first. (If they feel too grown-up to run about, you could at least get them to stand up during the recording.)

    b

  5. #5
    jdonovan is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Help! One on One Class! Im boring them!

    Thanks! One is very interested in economics and finance (yikes!!). Another reallly wants to revisit the basics of grammar, down to subject-verb agreement, etc. but in an advanced way.

    What bores them are tons of exercises and lessons. I tried a couple of games, but their English level is actualy really good, so the games seemed quite redundant. I need games for adults with advanced English skills.

    I need something to challenge them and ways to present the exercises in ways that are rapid and difficult.

    Any ideas?

  6. #6
    luciaws is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Help! One on One Class! Im boring them!

    I know what youre going through--Ive always taught one on one classes, and have had to teach some executives at higher levels.

    One way I found to keep them interested in the class was through humor. This kind of clientele is usually full of worries due to their hectic and demanding routines, so some humor can lighten the class and their moods. I just love using Garrison Keillors insightful stories during classes, and the students really enjoy them, too. Its a shame that the great book "Stories from Lake Wobegon", by Longman is out of print: it has different stories recorded by Mr. Keillor himself, and each unit of the book teaches vocabulary, grammar and mainly practices listening and speaking skills at an advanced level. You probably can find humorous podcasts or videos that could trigger conversation topics, as well as provide you with "real language" from which to teach/review grammar, vocabulary and so on.

    Maybe you also want to have a look into a resource book by Pter Medgyes called "Laughing Matters" (Cambridge University Press - ISBN 0-521-79960-0), which has over 120 humours activities.

    As for grammar exercises, my students usually find them more interesting when theyre done orally, especially by means of drills. You may find "English Structure Practice", by Gordon Drummond (Longman - ISBN 0-582-52438-5), useful for that purpose--although it may also be out of print, as the copy I have is pretty old (not easy to make ends meet in Brazil either, so books have to be used "forever" ).

    If you find any other ideas, I would love to hear them! As you correctly said, there seems to be this vaccum in literature devoted to one on one EFL classes.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help! One on One Class! Im boring them!

    Hi. I'm having similar issues teaching in Russia. All my lessons are one on one with my host family here and the Father is very advanced. I tend to go with what he wants to talk about (often religion and philosophy) and try to ask questions in a way that encourages the use of whichever part of grammar we're trying to focus on.
    One of our most interesting lessons though centred around watching Michael Macintyre (the stand up comedian) on youtube. We paused it at various places to discuss the many references to british culture and also to discuss which tenses he'd been using to describe an event.
    Mr Bean also works well for practising tenses!

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