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Explore the benefits of using Skype to tutor English learners around the world.
“A conversation can be made easy. Just ask a question and then listen.”
As millions of English-learners across the globe take advantage of new technology, English tutors may want to consider hosting their sessions via Skype. At no additional charge, both parties can Skype and hold live conversations from home.
This modern approach remains particularly advantageous to tutors offering their services beyond their neighborhoods, or even beyond their country’s borders. Skype also allows both teacher and student to “share their screens,” thus allowing for effective sharing of teaching material and student work. Perhaps the most useful capability is the record option: tutors and students alike can benefit greatly from being able to re-watch videos of their sessions.
Tutoring Tips for Skype
Here are some quick things to keep in mind when tutoring on Skype:
-Watch the informative 2009 Time Magazine video How to Ace a Skype Job Interview. Although clearly intended for job seekers, it provides a concise overview of helpful screen management tips for English tutors and teachers using Skype
-Set up an account with an easy to remember, appropriate username and an appropriate photo
-Familiarize yourself with the application, and how to video chat, share screens, record, etc.
-Test your microphone, speakers and webcam using Skype’s testing service before hosting any sessions
-Prepare for the English tutoring sessions, even if teaching conversation skills
-Set a clear agenda for the tutoring session and share materials with the client
-Host sessions from an appropriate, well-lit room
-Wait to start the clock until the microphone, speakers and webcam have been properly connected for both parties
-Ask questions and let the English student practice their English speaking skills
-Provide both direct and indirect feedback on the students’ “good mistakes” in a friendly manner
-Remember to periodically share screens or have the student display his or her work
-Advertise – for free – your Skype lessons on your resume at www.eslteachersboard.com and/or www.eslboards.com
-Consider offering a short free online session as an a teaser for your online tutoring
A good ESL tutor will still assess their students’ initial level and outline short-term and long-term goals for the meeting. However, because travel time and transportation costs are no longer part of the equation, tutors can now schedule shorter, more frequent meetings as well as the longer sessions. One hour seems most comfortable for me, but some more experienced ESL tutors have found 90-minute and two-hour sessions work too. Of course, the longer the session, the more crucial the need to carefully prepare for the English lesson.
You can also check Skype’s page on online tutoring to answer additional questions regarding the ins and outs of teaching over webcam. Since Skype is nearly as interactive as face-to-face, English tutors should consider its benefits when hosting their teaching sessions. Many students appreciate the ability to review the recorded sessions. You can encourage this reflective practice by asking about their reactions to watching themselves in the previous lesson.
Consider Using Compelling Conversations
Many Skype tutors have chosen to use Compelling Conversations materials to provide clear structure and help English language learners keep the conversation flowing. Naturally, I’m pleased with this unexpected development and appreciate this 21st century method of holding face to face conversations – across borders – in real time. English tutors will find our ready-to-use conversation lesson plans make teaching speaking skills easy and relaxing.
If you are considering teaching English as a profession, tutoring English conversation on Skype provides a practical way to both explore the field, gain practical experience, and put some nickels in your pocket.
Will tutoring English and teaching conversation skills on Skype be in your future?
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Create Compelling Conversations.