Learning online: taking language courses via Skype

25 Oct 2016 | Richard Parkinson, Kickstart School

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As global mobility of the workforce increases, learning a foreign language is becoming increasingly important. Learning a language is also a popular leisure activity, either before a vacation abroad or just for fun. But what happens if you can’t get to a class?

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Remote lessons might just be the solution. I work for a school established in the Netherlands, but can continue to give lessons to students of the school who live in Russia, while visiting family in the UK! I can do all this at no extra cost by using Skype.

 

Flexibility for people who travel on business

The most common Skype client at Kickstart School is the individual private client. These are usually clients who have a lesson once a week on a one-to-one basis with their teacher. Both the teacher and the student conduct the lesson from their home or work computer, so location is not an issue even if the student is travelling on business.

Another option is to alternate Skype and face-to-face lessons in order to reduce costs. For example, a corporate client would pay a higher cost for a lesson at the company’s premises than for a Skype lesson, and would also have to meet the teacher’s travelling expenses. With Skype lessons, these extra costs disappear.

 

Access to native English and Dutch teachers

Perhaps the most interesting use of Skype is to provide lessons in territories where it is difficult to find native English (or Dutch) speakers.

Kickstart has recently been working with a school in St Petersburg to provide Skype lessons to its students. Native English teachers are rare in Russia, and by providing Skype conversation classes, the students in Russia are provided with the opportunity to practise the techniques they are learning in their regular lessons with a native English speaker via Skype.

 

Classroom whiteboards in an online lesson?

Another strong point of Skype courses is that the lessons can still have all the elements of a face-to-face lesson thanks to the available technology. The teacher shares screens with the student, so the teacher’s computer takes the place of the classroom whiteboard.

Photos and videos can be shared very easily for discussion or listening practice. Vocabulary and grammar explanations can be typed onto a document which the student can see through the screen share, and this can be prepared by the teacher before the lesson or expanded upon during the lesson as necessary.

 

Flexible, effective, good value

As an English teacher, I have been giving Skype lessons for over a year now. I have found that it is very easy to use and more flexible than face-to-face lessons. Students also welcome the ease of access and the fact that they can have lessons at home, at work, or wherever. This means that the student can continue their learning, uninterrupted, no matter where they are.

If you want to find out more about learning English or Dutch, or if you are interested in whether Skype lessons might be suitable for you, please contact Kickstart School.

Visit our website at www.kickstartschool.nl, call us on 070- 3607860, or email us at info@kickstartschool.nl


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