One-to-One Lesson Planning

Don’t re-invent the wheel

There are millions and millions of ideas for group exercises or pairs and only 5% for one-to-one exercises. Don’t think you need to start creating your own; it is much easier to work out which of the group exercises can be adapted to one-to-one lessons. Just because the idea was originally thought of as a group lesson, doesn’t mean it can’t easily be adapted for a one-to-one format.

Teacher participation

If only I had another student, then I could do a pair exercise. You do have another student: yourself! Teachers can be the other part in any pair game. Now lesson planning becomes really easy because so many group lessons can easily be adapted to pair exercises. When starting a pair exercise, always make sure to remember yours is the supporting role, not the lead. If it is a role play exercise, then let the student play the part that is more active or must communicate more. You are the facilitator, most students view exercises as a task to complete. This is great because it takes their focus from building the structures to actually using the language. The teacher focuses on the process. We want the students to use the skill as much as possible. Remember to play devil’s advocate, offer differing ideas, give alternative arguments (your own opinion is irrelevant); just remember you want the student to communicate.


Incorporate testing. In one-to-one classes there is less structure, the environment feels less formal, and the teacher-student relationship is a little closer. The student can look at this and feel that they are not learning enough, fast enough or at all. Sometimes they see talking about holiday plans or listening to a song as a waste of time. They don’t realise they are practising skills. To keep both you and the student on track, use testing. It can be formal or informal. You can use a written test, grammar test, multiple choice test or just a revision quiz but you need to be able to show the student that they are improving.