agentzero

Teaching through Skype?

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I'm sorry in advance if this question has already been asked, but recently a friend of mine approached me with this idea since I study English and am pretty good at it. I don't have any experience with something like this and honestly it's kinda frightening to me. How do you teach somebody whose language you don't speak a second language which isn't your native? Granted, I'd say my English is pretty okay, but still. Having to deal with Skype is another issue. 

So, does anyone have any experiences with this? Any advice? 

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Yes, I teach people over Skype sometimes, but for the most of the time I get taught instead.

The most frequent hold back is fear, but that can be overruled by just doing it any way.
A second hold back might be terrible internet speeds, a solution for most countries would be to find a better internet subscription.
A third would be more relevant to teaching: materials. You're a human just like anyone else, spontaneously getting the right teaching materials out of your head can be really tricky.
In fact, all my professional Skype teachers sent me PDF files and eventually showed their copy on their screen through screen sharing.
And based on that I had to answer questions by speaking, or hold a conversation using whatever is written in the PDF file.

That's all beginners stuff.
If you have more advanced students, you'll often notice that they decide how the lessons would look like, and you'll need to adjust yourself to that.
Right now with Japanese, I usually learn new Kanji and grammar rules during the first 30 minutes, then I have 15 minutes left for questions based on what I have found while we didn't speak each other (like new words or grammar in books, apps, videos, etc.).

And on any level, be prepared to answer questions that randomly come up, because you will get those.
Like how I once asked what's the difference between word A and word B.
For 99% of the time, the teacher answers them straight away, but there is a chance he'll need to look it up in a dictionary too.

I hope that helps.

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The common issue with starting teaching anyone any language especially the one you do not speak is the teaching method you could use to teach. I am sure that someone who wants to learn English, for instance, coming from Japan, already knows at least something in English, like general understanding, if they choose Skype as a learning method.

You, as a teacher, need to maintain the professionalism, and not forget to smile. No one likes a grumpy teacher, let alone someone who shows fear. I am of the opinion students are afraid, even more than teachers, when it comes to learning a language, especially on Skype. Also, you have to have at least one lets say free of charge lesson, in my opinion, because you want to make sure you know which level of English the student in question has.

Also, about the teaching method, you can always see about that, after you have that initial lesson with your student. The more you know about a person that you teach, the more effectively you will spread your knowledge.

The connection with your students is also very important. You have to maintain some professionalism, as I stated, but you also have to show you are human as well, to lower your expectations, and to always be kind when they make mistakes.

Good luck with teaching, and learning. :)

 

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Many thanks to both of you! You've definitely given me some great advice to think about. Honestly, before your replies I don't think I was ever going to do it, I just had it in the back of my mind as a backup option. Somehow, a light bulb went off after I read what you said and now I think I'm seriously going to consider it. Again, thank you! :)

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I personally love using Skype, to learn and take classes and to also teach. Have you all noticed that the only lessons available over Skype are language courses...has anyone tried to take any other courses, writing skills, speaking skills or even offer classes that haven't been offered before. I am a qualified therapist and am thinking of starting my career this way rather than local. 

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For American Sign Language obviously a visual language Skype is a great tool for teaching online. Unfortunately all too often people decide to try to teach theirself ASL online with information that's out there however, a lot of that information is incorrect or regional signs or dialects so the person needs to learn the correct signs for his region and then have someone to practice with. Skype can also be a great tool for that. When they have friends who are studying the same thing or need tutors but are a great distance from their friends or in a place where tutors aren't readily available then Skype would be a great second option. Like one person said up above, the biggest thing is getting out of your head and going with what you know. (my translation lol)

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I'm affiliated with a company that offers instruction exclusively through Skype. There are challenges, like dropped calls and spotty connections. And of course, it can't beat face-to-face conversations. What I try to do as a teacher is to always be polite and cheerful. Whenever I need to correct something, I always start by praising their efforts and improvements, and then subtly steering them in the right direction. Phrases like, "That's good, but you could also say ..." "You're doing well, but it might be better if you use this word instead ..." If my student and I are having a lively conversation and I don't want her/him to lose momentum, I simply type my corrections in the chat box as we're talking. Then at the end of the lesson, after commending his/her good work, I tell her/him to please go over the corrections I've typed when she/he has the time.

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Personally I dislike Skype and how it handles system resources regardless how potent and modern your computer is, so systematically I refuse to get involved in any practice, deal, offer, or requirement that involves the use of this software.

There are sites offering live learning by using video conference websites, which many times offer more dynamic teaching and practice that those using Skype or similar instant messaging software.

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17 hours ago, kristbernard said:

I don't know much about teaching. But I am FIlipino and I am learning Polish from a teacher from Preply.com (  http://preply.com/en/polish-by-skype  ), who I meet through Skype regularly. She doesn't know any Tagalog and speaks very little English but somehow, we understand each other with the help of visual aids and screen sharing. I guess, just don't let your fear hold you back. If you want to teach, just teach. :)

Sounds good kristbernard. Why would you like to learn Polish? I'm just curious.

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Skype has been proven to be an effective method for many of my friends. Also, I have a few who are able to work tutoring but usually it is after having a TESOL certification and it is to students who have a basic concept of the target language already. If you are wanting to speak with someone who does not speak the language then don't be ashamed to use lots of pictures, colors, and words to begin your learning relationship off on a positive note. For example, you can hold up a funny colorful photo of a turtle and then point to it and ask them what it is in their language? (use a card that says their language or a sentence in there language saying what you want) Then when they respond, 'tortue' for eg. in French, then you can repeat their word smile and then point to your picture again and say, 'Turtle'. Then they will repeat and say the word in English, 'Turtle.' Keep doing this and make sure to furnish lots of smiles and praise for any small progress you see. As a review mix the cards up and then at the end of the session see if they can remember. The cards that they remembered most can be used in your next lesson to help them 'warm up' building up their confidence as they learn new words. We look forward to hearing more methods you may come up with as you begin teaching/learning. 

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You do it like most teachers  with a very international class do:  You do it in the language you are trying to teach them, because you are never supposed to ever use the native language of the person to explain anything. I learnt this very early on when I was starting to get into teaching people as a second language... many years ago ;)  This is  basically the first rule they teach you.   Another thing you must keep in mind is also creating your own lesson plans.  

 

The advantage you have over teaching languages on Skype is that the person who is paying you for it is really interested, so you don't have to deal with class discipline, rules, etc.   Believe me, the latter is the main reason why I hate teaching and I'd never work doing tht again.  But online you an give one on one lessons :)  You have the student's full attention!  

 

So you just need to get creative with body language, and visual aids... you might have to create your own material and teach new words or idea with the  ''look and say'' method they use with children.   As simple as that :)  Think of it like this... how would you teach a child to read?  How do you think ESL teachers teach English to Chinese students online? 

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I don't have any experience or advice, but I just wanted to say thank you for considering it.  Some people who know a second language won't teach it to others because then they will feel less special for knowing a second language.  Selflessly teaching others is a wonderful thing. 

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I have personally not tried this but I have to say that it sounds like an intriguing option.  Skype seems to offer everything that you would need to have a successful interaction with a teacher or a tutor in a new language, and it probably has many benefits over more traditional services that we see online.  I am definitely going to do a little more research into this, because I can really use some new tools to complete my learning of a new language because I have hit a bit of a wall.

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I think it's difficult to teach another language to someone else, whether through Skype or in person. The expectation of a student from a teacher would depend on the level of the student. If the student is a newbie and knows nothing about the language, you have to know how to speak its native language first. If you add Skype to the equation, plus the culture difference, I can imagine the hardship a teacher has to go through.

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@agentzero I have taught people over skype. You might feel awkward at the start but as time goes on, it would get much more easier since you would now be comfortable over the interface.

 

The only problem is that when the other person is not in front of you, the discipline is lacking, like if they are at home, someone might call them or they can get distracted because someone came, that is the main issue. If they are able to focus continuously without anyone disturbing for that hour or two, you would have absolutely no problems.

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Modern technologies might have a very positive influence on our lives, if we want and know how to use them. When I say this, I especially think about the Internet and all its aspects. In only one minute, we can log into our computers and find teachers from another countries or continents. And it can significantly improve our possibilities to learn foreign language quickly.

If you know English as Serbian than you should try to teach others, otherwise, I would not suggest you. I am talking about this from my personal angle, because I love to achieve perfection. Of course, we are all different, so you should consider other opinions from this thread. 

Our ancestors did not have the privilege that we have now, and they needed to learn the hard way. We should be very grateful for the opportunities that we have, and Skype is also one of them. The life would be harder without it, and learning as well. 

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You can also use Jitsi instead of Skype if you don't want to setup a video call software. Is just a matter of access to the webpage and create a room for you to use, and afterwards send the room's link to allow your contact access inside. It less bandwidth intensive than skype and adjust the video feed speed with your connection. 

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I have attended online education programs, where my tutors used VOIP service like skype to teach lessons. However, I don't have any experience with teaching language through skype. By the way, I am a language student and not a language a teacher. Based on my online study, I can say skype can be a good way to learn or teach. The only problem to me is the quality of calls  (if you are using voice chat). Any disturbances with internet connection will interrupt your communication. If someone is starting to learn language from the zero level, you can teach him only by using the language common to both of you.

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