Here at jobs.ac.uk, we recently published an article on job interviews that use Skype. Skype is also used, however, to teach English. Many English teachers worldwide are using it to communicate with students and run online lessons. What are the pros and cons, and how can you get started?
First of all, Skype is an amazing technology that allows computer-to-computer calling, using video and/or audio. It is a free service, downloadable here. Generally, communication is very smooth when using Skype, depending on the strength of each party’s Internet connection. You will need at least a decent Internet connection, a webcam (if you want to use video) and a microphone and speakers (or a headset).
Why use it?
Teaching by Skype presents many advantages to both teacher and learner. The lesson can be conducted in the privacy and comfort of a convenient location, without any need for travel time or expense. This opens up the potential for more regular learning, allowing the student to make greater progress in a shorter time.
Skype also facilitates multi-party conferences. This means you can have a number of students sitting on the same lesson! Materials and texts can be sent by email to your students beforehand if necessary, although it has to be said that Skype works better as a conversation practice tool than a bona fide teaching tool.
Skype for TEFL
The text entry function of Skype works very conveniently as a whiteboard, allowing the teacher to write any unknown words for further examination. I recently participated in a lesson using Skype and found this function highly beneficial.
Teachers all over the world are using Skype. TEFL is a job that takes you far and wide, but now thanks to Skype teachers can continue teaching students even after they have left moved onto a new location. Skype is also being used to give catch-up lessons for students who are unable to physically attend regular sessions.
Have you used Skype to teach? Share your experiences with us here!