An outline of the advantages and disadvantages of one-to-one teaching for students

Thinking about teaching one-to-one classes? This list of advantages and disadvantages from the perspective of the student might be useful to think about, when making the decision. It's also useful to be aware of the disadvantages, so you can think about how to tackle them, for better lessons for both yourself and your student.


  • Students have the constant attention of the teacher, so they can listen to and speak more English than they might in a group situation.
  • Students can contribute to classes more and feel part of the learning process by bringing material like books, songs or articles from local newspapers to class.
  • Their strengths and weaknesses are addressed more consistently and fully without the competition of other students for the teacher’s time.
  • They can become better learners through learner training with their teacher. 
  • There are fewer time constraints, so they can go at their own pace and not feel pressured by the progress of other students.
  • According to the Natural Method, as suggested by Stephen Krashen, learners acquire language best through the modified input of the teacher. This means that the teacher adapts their language to the level of the student, and in one-to-one classes the amount and type of input can be maximised by the teacher to benefit the student.


  • There is a potential for exhaustion, as they can be in constant interaction in an unnatural way with the teacher.
  • It can be difficult to measure progress without other students to compare with and the possible lack of a syllabus.
  • There can be a lack of individual study time. They might not have the same ‘sink in time' as they would have in a group. This can go against the acquisition of language, especially if teachers don’t give enough restricted practise (Scrivener, 1987) of new language, and students don’t absorb the language as effectively as they would if they had more time to reflect and process input in a class where the teacher might be more comfortable with silent periods.
  • The lesson format can become monotonous if a teacher lacks the confidence to experiment with change of pace and type of activity. They might assume a student would not be open to activities such as dictation, songs, moving around the class, chants, drilling, etc.