If you do private, 1-1 language teaching, then you’ll need to keep on reading. I’ll share with you my top tips, tricks, games, and activities for 1-1 English teaching to keep your students (and their parents!) happy and improving their English skills.
Private Teaching Activities and Games: Top 28
Private teaching can sometimes be a little bit difficult because the activities and games you’d normally use with bigger classes often won’t work when it’s just you and a student. I know that I’d way rather teach a class of 30 than a private session with only one or two students!
However, I still occasionally do private teaching and I have a go-to repertoire of activities and games that I rely on. These are most appropriate for both children as well as adults with some adaptations.
I’ll share a few of my favourite activities for 1-1 ESL teaching here. Are you ready for some ESL awesome? Then read on teachers!
#1: English Central Videos for Private Teaching
I love to use videos to teach English, but it’s sometimes not easy to find ones on YouTube that are the right level for your students. That’s what makes English Central so great. The videos are grouped according to level and there are lots of features that make it really easy to use them in your lessons. Try them out in your private teaching lessons and I’m sure you’ll find them useful.
More details about English Central here:
#2: Follow-Up Reading Activity
I will often assign reading of some kind for homework in my private tutoring sessions. Extensive reading is an excellent way to build vocabulary, reinforce grammar concepts as well as increase speaking fluency. However, it works best if you do a few quick follow-up activities in class together.
One of my favourites is this Story Timeline Review. It’s excellent for kids as well as adults and easy to adjust depending on the level of your students.
Check out this follow-up ESL reading activity here:
#3: Is that Sentence Correct?
Is that Sentence Correct is an excellent way to review some grammar or vocabulary concepts that you’ve introduced in previous classes to make sure your student has a good grasp on them. It’s reasonably fun, or as fun as teaching grammar can be!
Check out this fun English grammar activity below:
#4: Brochure Scanning: A Reading Activity for Private Teaching
It can get pretty boring just to read the standard stuff from the ESL textbooks. You know what I’m talking about I’m sure. There are the same old stories, again and again.
It’s often better to use authentic material, especially for intermediate or advanced-level students. Brochure scanning is one way to introduce some authentic material into your private teaching sessions.
You can check out this 1-1 reading activity here:
#5: Fortunately, Unfortunately Warm-Up Activity
Fortunately, Unfortunately is a fun warm-up for the beginning of your private tutoring class. You’ll have lots of laughs and get the creative juices flowing. It’s a great way to help ease your student into using English.
Check it out here:
#6: Cosmo Quizzes for Private Teaching
If you’re a woman and teach another woman of a similar age, you’ll find that Cosmo quizzes can be really fun to do together. They’re almost guaranteed to create some interesting discussion about a variety of issues, including whether or not quizzes like this have any validity, or are a total waste of time. There are some less taboo ones, so search around and you’ll be able to find a suitable one.
More details here about one of the best activities for private English classes for adults:
#7: Ideas for Business English
Many ESL private lessons are focused on business English. If this is the case for you, there are certainly some specific resources out there to help you with this. Business English is quite different from general English and your students will certainly appreciate some focused attention on it.
Here are some of the best ideas:
One of my favorite ESL tutoring activities is presentations. I love them because they can give our students a real skill to take into the world with them. And, it’s less intimidating to work on presentations with only one person (you!) than it is in front an entire class.
There are a ton of different kinds of presentations you could consider having your student do. Check this out for some of my best ideas:
#9: Conversation Starters
A classic private ESL tutoring activity is free talking. Sometimes it’s easy if the student is chatty but if not? Then you’ll definitely want to have some conversation starters up your sleeve to have some things to talk about. Here are some of my top picks for this:
#10: Making Predictions
Talking about predictions for the future is an excellent way to introduce or review the future verb tenses. Plus, it often leads to some very interesting discussions.
It’s certainly one of the best ESL tutoring lesson plans. Here are some of the best activity and games you can use for this topic:
#11: Tips for ESL Private Tutoring
#12: Current Events Presentations for ESL Private Teaching
I love to talk about what’s going on in the news with my students. They seem to enjoy it too because the topics are relevant to real life and not the same old things you usually see in most ESL textbooks!
A nice activity to go along with this is to have your student do a presentation, especially if they have to do presentations in their jobs or at school. Check out these tips for getting it all set up:
#13: Retell the Story 1-2-3 Speaking Fluency Activity
A nice ESL tutoring idea is this one that focuses on fluent speaking. The way it works is that your student has to tell a story about something in a certain amount of time. Then, they have to say it again but have less time. And then a third-round but with less time. The key is including all the same information.
Want to find out more? Check this out:
#14: Reading Focused ESL Private Lesson
When doing private ESL tutoring, I often like to do some reading focused lessons. There are lots of excellent news articles that can be graded to match the student’s level if necessary. Besides reading the article, there are a ton of activities that can be done along with it. Here are some of the best options:
#15: Social Issues ESL Lesson Plan
One of the best ways to get 1-1 students talking and enjoying their private English lesson is to introduce an engaging, interesting topic, some vocabulary and idioms related to it, and then get to speak. A lesson plan like this one is the perfect way to get your students coming back for more. Have a look here:
#16: Draw a Picture ESL Tutoring Activity
A fun activity that is ideal for working on things like body parts, numbers and shapes is this one where you have to describe to each other a picture to draw. Find a funny alien or monster picture and then have a good time together! The results are usually hilarious. Switch it up and do both roles with your student.
Check out this fun ESL speaking and listening activity for 1 1 teaching here:
#17: Sentence Building Activities
Helping your student make better sentences and teaching them about English sentence structure during a 1 1 teaching session will always be a fruitful exercise! Here are some of the best ideas for that:
#18: Giving Directions Private Teaching Activities
If you are doing private ESL tutoring for someone who anticipates travelling outside of their country, a fruitful exercise can be a lesson related to giving directions. After all, what’s a more common travel experience than feeling a bit lost when in a foreign country, right?
Sounds like something your student might be interested in? Here are the best ideas for that:
#19: Would You Rather?
A fun warm-up private English teaching idea is Would You Rather? The way it works is that you have to choose between two things and it can be either positive or negative things. For example:
- Would you rather play tennis or watch TV?
- Would you rather eat super spicy chicken wings or mashed potatoes without salt?
Find out more here:
#20: Past Tense ESL Private Lesson Game
#21: Choose your Own Adventure Writing Activity
If you want to focus on writing during your private English lessons, then this Choose your Own Adventure activity makes a great choice. It’s interactive, engaging and most students find it really interesting to do!
It’s certainly possible to explain the assignment and then assign it for homework. Or, brainstorm together some of the possible scenarios and then assign the rest for homework. Or, consider doing it together with the student in the class, with you writing half of it. Learn more about it here:
#22: Technology ESL Conversation Lesson Plan
One of my favourite things to do when teaching privately is to use a conversation lesson that’s engaging and interactive. One such example is this technology lesson plan that’s designed for teens or adults and intermediate level or above. It’s perfect for a 1-2 hour class and is guaranteed to get some great conversation going! Have a look here:
#23: What are you Cooking? ESL Tutoring Idea
This is a fun ESL activity that is actually designed to be done in small groups. However, it’s also a nice ESL private tutoring idea. The way it works is that you can each give the other a list of ingredients. Then, you can design a 3-course meal based on this.
Sounds like something you want to try out? You can see all the details here:
#24: Teach English Phrases and Expressions
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 237 Pages - 11/22/2020 (Publication Date)
If students are struggling with English, it’s often the case that they lack an adequate vocabulary to be able to express themselves how they want to. That’s where teaching English phrases and expressions can come in.
The best way is to teach phrases around a certain topic, not just random, disconnected ones. Here’s one example of how to do that:
#25: ESL Listening Lessons
I love to spend some time working on listening with all my students. It’s also one of the best ESL tutoring ideas and it’s ideal for working 1-1 with students. It’s a nice break for both the student and teacher from talking to each other ALL the time. Of course, listening skills are vital and it’s a good use of class time.
For some tips on teaching ESL listening, have a look here:
#26: Advanced English Conversation Dialogues
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 66 Pages - 11/06/2020 (Publication Date) - Independently published...
If your student wants to learn American English, including phrases and dialogues, this may be the perfect book to use. It’s ideal for assigning as homework between sessions and then going over the answers and reviewing them at the beginning of a session.
# 27: Five Senses ESL Warmer
A fun way to begin 1-1 classes is with this quick warmer activity. Show your student a common object such as an apple. Then, w0rk together to think of some descriptive words that fall under the five senses to describe that object. Consider using this warm-up multiple times using a different object. Find out more about it:
#28: Business English Dialogues
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 126 Pages - 11/25/2020 (Publication Date)
If you teach businessmen or women, then consider teaching them some business English vocabulary, including idioms, phrases and expressions. Check out these dialogues in American English.
Do you like These Private Teaching Activities and Games?
Do you do 1-1 English classes with kids and are having a hard time coming up with fun, engaging activities? Then you’re certainly in the right place.
Check out this book filled with activities for private teaching with children to get you on the right track. Before you know it, you’ll be having a ton of fun with your private teaching students! Keep reading to find out more about it.
Private Classes With Kids = Difficult!
Teaching private classes to kids can be quite difficult and I personally find it far harder than doing the same thing with adults. Adults are usually able to focus reasonably well for an hour or two and their motivation is usually high since they’re the ones paying for the lesson!
With kids, however, it’s a very different story. Learning English with a private tutor can sometimes be the last thing they want to be doing. Their attention spans are short, sometimes only 5-10 minutes. And, they are sometimes very unmotivated, especially if all their friends are watching TV or playing video games.
Don’t worry, help is here!
Fun, Engaging 1-1 ESL Activities
It is indeed possible to have fun, engaging, productive 1-1 ESL lessons with kids. The book has 39 1-1 ESL activities that will help make your lesson planning easy and your classes awesome. There are enough activities to make it through months without having to repeat any of them.
Happy kids equal happy parents which equals more money in your pocket at the end of the month, right?
Sounds good to you? You can get the book over on Amazon in both print and digital formats. Keep a copy on your bookshelf in the office to use a reference guide. Or, take a copy with you on your phone or tablet for lesson planning in your favourite coffee shop.
It really is that easy! Check out this book of activities for private teaching over on Amazon now:
Build up the Best Reputation with Quality Private Classes
By planning some great lessons that the students really enjoy, you’ll be able to build up a really solid reputation in your neighbourhood and in a place like Korea, perhaps even have more work than you know what to do with. Trust me. Moms talk to each other. They know who the good teachers are and the ones to avoid.
Private Teaching = Potentially Lucrative
Private teaching with kids really can be quite lucrative in countries where competition to get into the best schools is fierce. Parents are often willing to do whatever it takes to give their kids a slight advantage. This is where you come in.
Plan interesting lessons that are different each week. Your classes will be painless for everyone. A happy teacher who doesn’t have to spend a ton of time planning. Happy students who have fun in your lessons. And finally, happy parents who see their child enjoying English and learning a lot.
Get 39 Awesome 1-1 ESL Activities Today
Does it sound like exactly what you might need to make your 1-1 English classes better? You can get 39 Awesome 1-1 ESL Activities: For Kids (7-13) over on Amazon. It really is possible to have better one-on-one classes tomorrow.
Stop Wasting Time: All the Good Activities in One book
If you’re tired of wasting time searching around on the Internet for interesting things to do in your lessons, it’s time to pick up the book. You’ll find only the top-quality activities and games you need to create interesting and engaging private lessons for your students.
There’s enough material in the book that you should be able to make it through almost a year of private lessons without having to repeat them. If that’s not ESL teaching gold, then I’m not sure what is!
Available in a Variety of Formats
The book is available in both digital and print formats. Keep the physical copy on the bookshelf in your office and use it as a handy reference guide. Or, take the e-version with you to your favorite coffee shop for some lesson planning on the go.
It really is that easy to prepare some awesome private lessons for your students. You can check out the book for yourself over on Amazon, but only if you want to get yourself a serious dose of ESL awesome in your life:
Have your say about these Activities for Private Language Teaching
What’s your go-to activity or two for when doing private English teaching? Do you have any tips for 1-1 ESL teaching? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest. It’ll help other teachers, like yourself, find this useful teaching resource.
Last update on 2020-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API