For many teachers and students the idea of having online classes is quite controversial. There are lots of pros and cons to it and that causes many debates. I have been teaching Skype lessons for over two years now and would like to share with you my experience. So let’s find out what’s so cool about “distance learning”!
1) First of all, you can have classes literally in any spot of this world as long as there is a good wi-fi connection. I know, it’s pretty obvious. However, it seems to me that some people don’t appreciate this chance enough! It means that you can choose your teachers/students from any country and do not have to stop the studying process whenever you are on the move. You have been dreaming of having some practice with native speakers but don’t know any in your city? Not a problem with Skype. Or maybe you are a teacher who wants to travel around the world and make a living at the same time? Also possible with Skype!
2) Secondly, it’s much easier to arrange the time for classes when you can have them at home or at work or in any café or coffee shop. Why not have a class right after having breakfast without having to go out anywhere? Or how about that time between dinner and going to bed? I assume you wouldn’t agree to study/work at school at such a late hour but doing it while sitting on your cozy sofa and drinking tea doesn’t sound that bad, does it?
3) Another advantage which might sway you into choosing Skype classes is also related to the time freedom. If there is an issue that has to be dealt with urgently and the lesson has to be cancelled most likely you will still be able to reschedule it or make it up next week.
4) I have to mention the comfort of your home or your favorite café here. You have all you might need around you in addition to coziness and peace. None of you needs to worry about getting back home after the class as you are already there!
5) Structure of the class. For me personally it has been a huge revelation. At first, I was struggling a bit with making up my own classes from scratch and not depending on any program or books. It’s pretty challenging to follow a textbook all the time when you can only use it digitally. However, as soon as I got used to it and realized how vast my freedom is now, how much I can improvise, how many different materials and books I can combine in the class and work out the best approach to my students’ results I completely changed my mind about it. Now, I believe Skype classes are the best solution to personalizing each of your lessons and making them special for each individual student.
6) Text messages. What a wonderful function to use when you need to introduce new words, correct your students’ mistakes or simply save some information for them to refer to in the future! It takes a split of a second to type anything you want. Both you and your students can use those messages after the class for revision.
7) Google. Or any other search system that you prefer using. In any troublesome situation you can always turn to the help of THE mighty Internet. Showing pictures of new vocabulary, watching a video to see examples of new grammar structures, finding a definition to an unfamiliar word or any other possible request can also be done instantaneously!
8) Giving, doing and checking homework. No need to write anything (I know, I know we all won’t be able to hold a pen at all soon enough and it’s frustrating but it does save heaps of time). Everything can be done in the WORD documents: adjusted to suit your own structure of homework, deleted or added, filled in or corrected, sent back with your remarks in red, copy-pasted, explained with the pictures or links to anything useful you need.
9) It’s convenient to store necessary information for both students and teachers. Everything that you create for your classes can be kept on your laptop and reused in the future. Same goes for students. Whenever you feel like going back and revising the topic you don’t feel so confident about anymore just find that file and there it is.
10) And 10th point is going to be my personal favorite recapping all said above: motivation! It’s so much harder to find excuses not to study or teach! Thanks to all of the comfort and freedom online classes give you they might be slightly more entertaining and fruitful than the regular ones! You have that great opportunity to choose the teacher or the students you enjoy having lessons with the most, find the most convenient time and place for you both, use all the benefits of modern devices to make it easier and faster to learn and last BUT not least have a cup of coffee while doing it!