Review of I. Wisniewska's "One-to-One Teaching"

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Journal of Second Language Teaching and Research Volume One Issue One


Learning One-to-One

I. Wisniewska

Cambridge University Press 2010, £23.40

ISBN 978 0 521 13458 3

Learning One-to-One by Ingrid Wisniewska is published by Cambridge University Press and is one of the latest books released in the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers series. The accompanying CD-ROM supplies material related to particular activities suggested in the handbook, and is compatible with both Windows and Apple systems. In addition to these resources, supplementary worksheets are available online via the website of the publisher ( The handbook, with a total of 10 chapters, is split into two parts: Part 1 looks at the underlying principles of one-to-one teaching whereas Part 2 introduces engaging and interesting lesson ideas for the one-to-one context.

Part 1

The first five chapters of the handbook seek to introduce the one-to-one classroom and the role of the teacher. The chapters also offer suggestions for planning lessons and courses, provide ideas for selecting and adapting material, and aim to develop the skill of learning from feedback from the learner, including reflecting on previously taught lessons. Chapter One deals with the practice of one-to-one learning within the kinds of environments not necessarily associated with education but familiar to many EFL teachers (coffee shops, for example), as well as more traditional teaching contexts, and provides a good introduction for teachers unfamiliar with one-to-one teaching. Within Chapter Two, the author considers the different roles of the teacher during a one-to-one lesson. The roles which are highlighted include the following:

1. Conversation partner

2. Observer and listener

3. Feedback provider

4. Mentor and guide

5. Learner

The handbook goes into some detail explaining each role and the expected manners in which the teacher and learner will interact with suggested...