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Is it better to study English individually or in a group?

Published 2021-02-10

You have decided to start taking English lessons and the only thing left to do is choose between individual and group studies? There is no question that both of these options have their advantages and disadvantages, some of which we will cover below. 

Goals. Choosing between studying in a group or individually depends heavily on your goals. If you just need a refresher of certain grammar and vocabulary, and you know what it is exactly that you need help with, individual lessons are your best bet. When studying individually, you will be able to ask your teacher to focus on specific topics, which may not be covered in group lessons, or spend more time on certain skills like speaking or listening. If, on the other hand, you do not have a specific goal in mind and you just wish to improve your English in general, group lessons are just as good of a choice as individual ones. 

Time. It goes without saying that you will not get the same amount of time to express yourself when studying in a group as opposed to studying individually. In bigger groups, there are usually people who dominate conversations, while others may feel like they don’t get enough of an opportunity to participate. This is especially true for someone who does not necessarily feel comfortable around new people right away. In individual lessons, however, you are the star of the show whether you like it or not. You get more time to speak and ask questions without waiting your turn or worrying about taking up too much time.  

Schedule. Another factor that plays a role in choosing the way to learn is your schedule. If you have a steady timetable, both group and individual lessons are the right choice for you. You come to the lessons on specific days at a specific time; you have routine and stability. If, on the other hand, your schedule is a bit chaotic and you may need to cancel or reschedule lessons from time to time, individual classes may be the better option. As long as you remember to inform your teacher in time, cancelling or switching a lesson to another day should not be a problem.

Social aspect. Are you a social butterfly or more of a wallflower? Is it easy for you to speak in front of a group or do you get nervous just thinking about it? Social aspect plays a huge role when it comes to choosing between studying in a group or individually. If you know that an audience (even a small one) will prevent you from doing your best, because you will be constantly worrying about what other people think of your accent or some mistake you’ve just made, maybe group lessons are not for you and you should stick to minimal listeners instead, i.e. only your teacher. If, on the other hand, you are outgoing and not at all shy, learning in a group will not only give you motivation (and an opportunity to show off your progress), but it will also allow you to find study buddies or even make friends in the long run. Finally, if you are not the best public speaker and you know that you need to improve for work or just for yourself, what better way to start than surrounded by people who are in the exact same boat as you?

Financial aspect. As with everything in life, you have to consider the financial part of the equation. Although overall individual lessons give you more freedom and are probably more effective, they are also more expensive. Group lessons may be the more affordable option and they have other benefits like finding new friends and getting over the fear of public speaking. The third possibility is a combination of both: individual lessons in a pair. If you have a friend who has a similar level as you and wants to improve, why not study together? You will not only cut your expenses in half, but you will also have the chance to spend more time with your friend doing something fun and beneficial for the both of you.

As you have already taken the first step and decided to start learning (which is a big deal in itself), figuring out what aspects are the most important for you in the studying process won't be that hard. I hope my advice helps you pick the most suitable course for you. Whichever option you choose to go with, you are always welcome at AKS! 


Teacher Olga