Group Lesson and Language Barrier
Suzette H., Nebraska
I have a student that is just starting with a few private lessons to catch her up to the group I want to add her to. My dilemma is that there is a huge language barrier. She is super smart and quick, has taken 2 years of lessons but only for playing by ear, no note reading. Just moved from Japan, is 6 years old. Mom is extremely involved and has to translate approx half of what I say. Should I keep her in a private lesson or have her join the group. The other two students are 6 also and only on jackson blues. Any and all thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks in advance! 💗
Joan H., Canada
Suzette – what does your gut tell you? Shared lessons is our SM model, however i have found over 9 years of teaching that there is also a place for private lessons – which often emerges after a group experience and relates to pacing – either some pace so much more slowly or some are lightning speed. In those cases, some teachers may choose to maintain the group for various reasons, and others may choose private based on their own situation and preferences. So you may benefit from following through on your intent to catch this student up, try the group and see how their pacing aligns after a few months of being together.
Robert R., Missouri
Suzette H., I had a similar situation with two 7 year old, American girls and 7 year old girl who was just adopted from China. She was very bright and was picking up English quickly. She was able to track with the other girls, although the mother spent a lot of time with her at home. I don’t think it would have worked with a less-involved mom.
I definitely suggest you try her in the group.
Firstly, the impact it will have on her language acquisition and understanding will be dramatically increased by being around others who are all learning in the same environment.
Secondly, if she has a supportive and committed mom, then mom can fill in the gaps in her understanding.
Over several lessons you’ll be able to get a far more accurate read as to your student is feeling about the experience, and how she is fitting in, and how it’s working to have mom doing some translation along the way etc., etc.
If you then still feel that a private less is more appropriate, then make that determination at that time.
Elizabeth B., Australia
I have no teaching experience but I can back up Neil’s comment on language acquisition. English is my second language and at around 9 years old I learned it just by having to go to an English school. Then after one term I was at boarding school during the week, home on weekends. There I was included in the end of term stage play. I had to learn my lines! I’d give her a go in the group.
Suzette H., Nebraska
Thank you all! I appreciate your advice. My gut feeling was to have her join the group for many reasons including the immersion of language but as I have no experience in this, I wanted to ask.
Original discussion started August 18, 2021