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One-on-one or small classes – What is better for a child’s learning?

When your child’s education is at stake, parents often choose the one-to-one tutoring option, which while more expensive, many believe is better for their child. After all, the cost justifies their children receiving individual attention and a tailored lesson plan, right? 

For some, this may well be the case, however, what most people don’t realise is how effective a small focus group can actually be. Compared with big classes, the advantages are obvious: no more hiding in the back of the classroom, more of a teacher’s attention, and fewer rowdy kids to disrupt any learning. Not to mention the comparison of standard syllabus learning to a more focused look at truly expanding a child’s mind and understanding, making them more advanced in some areas. 

One-on-one learning is often perceived as better, but do the pros outweigh the cons? For example, a big pro of one-on-one learning is individual attention. But with a small class of six pupils, this is no problem. In fact, some teenagers would feel more comfortable easing in with a few classmates and taking a shared fraction of attention.  The idea of a tailored syllabus means that students receive information relevant to their school syllabus in a way that is accessible to them. 

But these advantages are not specific to one-on-one learning. Each lesson within small classes has a specific outcome tailored to the needs of each student.  Everyone requires a different technique to help them learn and within a small class, the one-on-one approach still occurs.

Small classes offer something that one-on-one sessions simply can’t. Friendships. Peers in classes are an extremely valuable commodity as they provide teamwork, collaboration and socialisation skills. A group of peers also allows for a diverse range of perspectives which can lead to a broader understanding of the subject matter, leading to rich discussions. This can mean that more critical thinking will take place, as students challenge each other and exchange ideas, build and re-evaluate arguments and develop analytical skills.  Small classes prepare students for the real world of work, which involves collaboration and teamwork. 

If you’re still not convinced, consider this: because small classes are more cost-effective, they’re more sustainable – and you can keep them going for longer.

Molly Cavalier

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