Personalising activities can prove to be very beneficial for English learners, working in a one to one environment, and it is something I have to do often. Adapting the class to the students’ individual needs and abilities enables them to profit from the lesson much as possible and they also enjoy it more. Each student wants to achieve different aims from each lesson and wants to focus on different skills. I will use two examples to demonstrate how I have personalised lessons for the benefit of my students.
I have a student who is twelve years old and is extremely shy. After my first lesson with her, it was clear that I needed to adapt the format of the lesson to suit her needs, as she was not very engaged, she was extremely nervous and shy and therefore said very little. As a result, for the next lesson I prepared some vocabulary games in order to make her feel more involved. I prepared a memory game using cards. I wrote all the new vocabulary she would learn in the lesson on cards and on separate cards wrote the Spanish translation. Then once we had read the text for the class, I placed all the cards face down on the table and explained the rules to her. She had to turn two cards over in order to make a match with the English and Spanish meaning. To encourage her to speak, I said that when she turned over each card she had to read the word written on the card. I also played the game with her too, to make it more of a competition and to make it a competition. The game helped her to feel more relaxed as it brought her out of her shell and she became very competitive towards the end. She also absorbed the new vocabulary quickly, and was even able to win the game. By interacting with her, it helped her to feel much more comfortable in the classroom and she enjoyed the class more. Now I tend to incorporate fun activities into her classes and she is much more receptive and is learning more vocabulary. The theme of the last class I had with her was imperatives, so I chose to play Simon says with her. She really enjoyed the game and she absorbed the grammar point well. Another student who I personalised classes for was a woman who was applying for a job in Boston. She came in asking for English practice in order to help her prepare for a Skype interview. In order to help her I prepared a list of interview style vocabulary and some practice questions that she could be asked in an interview. We did a mock interview using the questions we had prepared and some other ones based on the job description so that she felt prepared for an interview situation in English. She said it really beneficial for her, as she knew what to expect and could present herself and her past career with confidence and fluently.
By personalising these classes both these activities the students were able to benefit a lot more from their classes as they were tailored specifically to what they needed to achieve from the lesson and their way of learning. Personalising classes is what I enjoy about teaching one to one classes as I feel I can engage more with the student and help them better.