Group class vs One-to-One – is there an ideal format for language studies?

To sum it all up in one sentence: It all depends on your learning style, personality, your availability, desired learning pace and location. In this article, I’ll explore the pros and cons of both so you can decide what fits you best.

Learning in a group class

  • There is usually a real supporting atmosphere emerging in a group class.
  • You’re all in the same shoes which creates an environment where making mistakes is not to be ashamed of.
  • You learn from each other a lot.
  • Most of all, you learn from each others’ mistakes too.
  • Your knowledge goes up another level when working together with your class mates and helping them out when needed.
  • It’s cheaper …
Teacher students studying

  • No flexibility with timing: If you can’t make it, the others will still attend and progress.
  • Not much flexibility with location: If it takes place at a language school you have to go to after work, that adds to your travel time as it might be out of your way. Better if you find a school that is on your way to work or probably the best solution: Do it at your place of work.
  • Less chance to be heard and be actively involved (depending on class size of course).
  • The learning material can’t really be tailored to your personal needs.
  • Your personal efficiency might suffer.

One-to-One lessons (Individual classes)

  • Completely tailored classes. No irrelevant topics and vocab. Your individual requirements are always in focus, therefore personal efficiency is much greater.
  • Material can be altered along the way so it matches your changing needs, interests, learning pace and availability.
  • You set the location.
  • You set the time that’s suitable to your schedule.
  • Work-life balance easier to maintain as it saves a huge amount of travel time.
  • You can’t hide J All your strengths and weaknesses are fully exposed to your teacher. A great tutor will point them all out in a way that will get the best out of you without the inhibiting stress or fear of making mistakes.
Teacher student
  • No sense of community and supportive classroom dynamic.
  • Less chance to network and build friendships with other classmates.
  • No chance to learn from other people and their mistakes.
  • You’re on your own and can count on the teacher only for a bit of inspiration and motivation.
  • You have flexibility but you’re alone when it comes to managing your time which some students may not find easy.
  • It’s more expensive.


How to minimise the cons when going for a group class?

When it comes to group classes, I’ve limited the number of students in my German and Hungarian classes to a maximum of 4. By keeping the number at 4, I can ensure that even if it’s just a 60 minute class, everyone will have the chance to actively contribute yet still benefit from a highly tailored study course.

The result: Studying is a much more personal experience, time is used efficiently and the studying potential is maximized.

How can you minimise the cons when going for individual tuition?

Go out to networking groups like Mundo Lingo in London. They meet once a week in a pub in Camden, Shoreditch and Clapham, you can network with other like-minded language learners of your target language in a completely informal, out of the classroom setting. No commitments, no sign up needed, just turn up whenever you have time. There are loads of students studying German, Hungarian and in fact any language you can think of (we all know what a multi-kulti city London is J). The concept is fantastic.

It can actually be super beneficial to leave the classroom and experience language in action without your tutor present. Meeting other students and connect with them in the target language will not just create friendships but can also make you feel more relaxed when speaking and boost your confidence.

And let’s admit: Chatting with a glass of beer or wine in your hand magically lowers your inhibitions and loosens your tongue ;)

Now, I’d love to hear from you.

In your experience, are there any other pros or cons of one-to-one and group classes that we could extends this list with?

What do you like about studying in a group? What do you like about studying alone? Or are you maybe a complete autodidact genius when it comes to languages? If so, do you have any tips you could share with us?

Please share your experience in the comments below.

As ever, thank you so much for reading, and I hope to catch you next time.


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