Skype English classes and English lessons using other similar apps such as Google Hangouts or Webex are quickly becoming an attractive option for people who want to learn English with a native teacher in a convenient and affordable way. Of course, learning a language by fully immersing yourself in the language and culture is the ideal solution and nothing can truly replace the experience of living and learning abroad, but for most working people that isn’t always an option for most of the year. Learning with native speakers is always the best option, which is why Skype English classes give us a great alternative to living abroad. Now anyone can now learn with a native speakers from any part of the world. If you have the possibility to do so, the ultimate recipe for success would be to combine online classes while working with the full immersion learning experience when you’re on vacation or take a leave of absence from your job.
The advantages of online English lessons are numerous. What follows are some of the main ones that have convinced students to switch over from traditional classes.
Skype English classes are extremely convenient. The biggest advantage of learning English over the internet is the ability to plan your lessons whenever and pretty much wherever you want, as long as you have a decent internet connection and a quiet environment in which you can concentrate.
Most students usually have their lessons from home, but it is also quite frequent to have them in the office or from a hotel room while traveling on business for example. For students who desperately need to learn business English to advance their careers, the possibility to have lessons between international meetings is priceless.
Other less common places include taxis, public transport, outdoors on vacation, airports, cafés and restaurants, etc. With the use of technology students can forget about wasting precious time to go to an academy across town after work, struggle to find parking, get home late and so on.
Basically all you need is a cell phone, computer or tablet and you’re all set. Headphones are often optional; depending on where you are, they are sometimes necessary to be able to hear your teacher better, but when at home for example, students and teachers decide most of the time to do without them.
Skype classes are usually much cheaper than classes in a traditional academy. Whilst definitely the most effective method of learning, 1-to-1 English classes with a qualified native teacher can be very expensive in countries and regions where living costs are high such as Western Europe, the USA, Japan, South Korea or Australia to name a few.
Skype English classes can be much cheaper than face to face classes with a teacher in your home, in the professor’s home or in an academy. How is this possible? For starters, teachers don’t need to leave their homes in order to get to a class, thus saving them time and money which they can deduct from the price of the classes.
Secondly, and maybe even more importantly, teaching via Skype enables native English teachers to live anywhere they want in the world and even travel while working. This is particularly attractive to trainers who wish to live in countries where the cost of living is lower than their home countries. They can choose to live on a tropical island and enjoy a relaxed lifestyle while making a good living and doing something they love.
Thirdly, the cost of online English lessons is lower than traditional classes because online academies have much lower expenses. For example, office space and classrooms which are no longer necessary. Many academies are managed purely online or have a small headquarters with a few people working together, but they most definitely don’t need to have large offices with a receptionist, class coordinators and other superfluous personnel.
And of course, as the lessons take place on the internet, classrooms have become completely obsolete and that represents huge savings. Academies and students also save money on course materials. When learning English online, the materials are sent by email in PDF or Word documents or via links directly in the Skype chat box.
3. The use of technology
The technology involved in Skype English classes actually makes the learning process more interactive and dynamic than traditional academy classes. The use of the Skype instant messaging tool is one good example of this aspect. When teachers hear mistakes students make while speaking, they can take notes of the mistakes in the chat box and send them over when the students are finished speaking in order to correct the errors together with the students. With this tool, students don’t have to take notes of their mistakes as all the texts sent stay in Skype and can be consulted anytime after the lesson which enables students to focus listening and speaking during the lessons which is definitely what’s most challenging for learners of a second language.
Another advantage that the use of technology presents is the ability to share links with the students in order have them see what the teacher is seeing and be able to discuss images, graphics, pictures, articles and other content on the internet.
Speaking of the internet, it’s a wonderful and diverse source of relevant and up to date material which gives teachers the possibility to personalize the English classes to meet each student’s particular needs. Some students also appreciate the fact that they can record their classes. And with certain easily accessible applications you can not only record the audio of the class, but also everything that happened on your screen. Being able to review notes you’ve taken during class which can be certainly very useful, but when the main focus is oral comprehension and oral expression, you can actually listen to all that’s been said during the lesson, which makes the review process (think of when you are reviewing the pronunciation mistakes that the teacher has corrected) that much more interactive and dynamic.
4. Contribute to help protect the environment
This doesn’t necessarily come to mind right away, but Skype English lessons can not only save you time and money, but in doing so they also save energy and thus contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. When you eliminate transport from the equation, that’s fewer vehicles on the streets and decreased fuel consumption.
If you have a couple classes a week on average, that’s nearly a hundred return trips saved yearly; and if your teacher does the same because they often have to shuttle between classes, we’re closer to 150 to 200. Then you’re also saving electricity and gas used to light and heat the academies where traditional classes take place. Finally, when learning English online, the materials you are using are all in digital for (PDF, Word, internet web pages) and not being printed and uselessly using up paper and ink, not to mention the space they take up when we pile up those stacks of worksheets on shelves where they eventually pick up dust before we end up throwing them out.
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