As a teacher of applied music, I am fortunate to interact with students weekly in one-on-one sessions. This type of interaction is invaluable in getting to know individual students, their academic habits, their struggles and successes, and their approaches to learning and practicing. Because I will be working with individual students over the course of two to four years, I have a tremendous opportunity to help instill effective learning habits and strategies using long term goals and broad learning concepts. This personalized type of instruction is not readily available to many professors across campus who teach courses filled with large numbers of students. In a course consisting of many students, professors work hard to include each student in the overall conversation. However, the types of instruction are not tailored to individuals for necessary practical reasons.
In writing for the Route 6×6 Challenge over the course of the next several months I plan on reflecting on the particular advantages afforded the applied music teacher. Some of these benefits include:
- Meeting students where they are
- Adapting to an individual student’s style of learning and communication
- Developing trust and encouraging students to share openly about their academic experience
- Giving instant feedback
- Developing personal responsibility as students cannot rely on their peers
- Increasing a student’s ability to focus
- Personalization of assignments
- Teaching one-on-one requires that the instructor be confident in his/her mastery of the subject in order to adapt rapidly according to a student’s needs.
In addition to these benefits, teaching one-on-one also has potential disadvantages. These include:
- The danger of monotonous teaching caused by seeing the same student in the same teaching situation for several years
- Measuring progress when trying to compare to other students can be difficult
- The student may feel added stress in preparing for weekly personalized interactions with an instructor
- The risk of developing a student-faculty informal relationship. Some students may see their applied instructor as more of a friend than a teacher.
I look forward to exploring and reflecting upon these thoughts over the course of the next several months!