One-on-one language teaching holds great potential for improving students' speaking ability. Programs such as Brigham Young University's Chinese Flagship program uses a one-on-one approach to help students learn how to use the language in respect to their desired profession. The Ohio State University uses individualized instruction as an alternative to traditional classroom-based classes. However, little to no research has compared one-on-one language teaching to traditional group classroom teaching in terms of language gains. Many studies show that one-on-one teaching can lead to language improvement, but do not attempt to compare method effectiveness. Additionally, although anxiety in language learning has been well researched, a comparison of anxiety between teaching methods has not been attempted. There are few studies that investigate anxiety between one-on-one and group methods. The present study attempts to close this gap in the research. This is done by comparing speech gains between a one-on-one teaching method and a group teaching method. The one-on-one method includes weekly five to ten minute sessions, and the group method includes weekly 50-minute sessions. Speech gains are defined as gains in fluency (determined through speech rate), pronunciation (consonants, vowels, and tones), and syntactic accuracy (determined by error free T-units). Speech gains are assessed via a pre/post-test design. Furthermore, the present study attempts to compare anxiety between the two teaching methods. This is done by administering the anxiety survey Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety Scale twice. Students were asked to respond to one survey in reference to the one-on-one setting, and respond to the other survey in reference to the group setting. Finally, students filled out a preference survey at the end of the study to determine student perception on teaching method effectiveness. Results show that there is no statistical difference in speech gains in five-ten minute one-on-one sessions compared to 50-minute group sessions. This is true for all four areas assessed: fluency, vowel/consonant pronunciation, tone pronunciation, and syntactic accuracy. This shows that short sessions of one-on-one teaching can produce the same speech gains as longer sessions of group teaching. Survey results show that anxiety levels were the same between the two teaching methods. Preference surveys show that the majority of students: 1) feel that the one-on-one method is effective in improving their speaking ability, 2) would choose to take a class that includes one-on-one teaching, 3) and enjoy coming to one-on-one sessions. It further shows that 50% of students feel that one-on-one teaching is more effective than group teaching, and feel more comfortable in one-on-one sessions than in group sessions.



College and Department

Humanities; Center for Language Studies



Date Submitted


Document Type





one-on-one, individualized, group, speaking, fluency, pronunciation, anxiety