Monday, April 9, 2007

Length of Private ESL Lessons

I offer three options to my ESL students for the length of our individual lessons: one hour, one-and-half hours, and two hours. In my ads to find new students and when meeting with my students for the first time, I highly recommend that they take the one-and-a-half hour option. Ninety per cent of my students have heeded this recommendation.

Most of my ESL students are either working professionals or visiting scholars (as well as parents), so their time is limited. Additionally, the learners that I meet in the evenings are often, as you can imagine, tired from their workday. A two-hour lesson is just way too much. I feel that the last half hour is really a waste of their time and money, as it is difficult for students to continue to focus for such a long period of time. About half of my students travel a long way to meet with me. Some of them prefer to meet me for two hours.

One-hour lessons are just not enough (usually), in my opinion. It is often very difficult to cover enough material to make sure that the English student can sufficiently learn and show some mastery of the topic. Of course, for students who only want to improve their English conversation skills through conversation practice, a one-hour lesson is often sufficient. I have had students successfully improve their English skills when only meeting once a week for only one hour, but these students have been willing and able to dedicate a significant amount of time studying outside of class.

One-and-a-half hour-lessons seem to work the best for both my students and for me. We can sufficiently cover the topic and have enough time to practice and reinforce the topic, especially some English grammar topics.

To encourage potential students to choose one-and-a-half hour lessons, I offer a discount.

As for how long we continue to have lessons, this is usually determined by the length of time the student is in the country, or for those who live here (in the U.S.) how their work schedule pans out. Some students have specific goals they want to meet. We stop working together when the student meets his or her goals.

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