Truths and misconceptions about using Skype for language learning

Language learning via Skype has caused many controversies and disagreements over time because some people remain advocates for the old training methods while others embrace the evolution of technology and the way it facilitates considerably the access to education. Of course, people are entitled to their opinions but all this diversity in perspective leads to many misconceptions regarding the use of Skype for mastering a foreign language. That being said, people are free to try for themselves and assess the benefits and drawbacks of this online method.

Language learning through Skype is an efficient solution for any student, regardless of his language background. The teacher can develop motivating syllabuses for students with little or no previous preparation. Furthermore, some people believe that in comparison to the face-to-face method, Skype loses more ground because it only enables language exchange between two individuals. The truth is that Skype does represent an effective way for individual learning and because of this, in most cases, a native teacher communicates with only one student. Nevertheless, we cannot exclude the possibility of two students with similar language background and objectives studying simultaneously English lesson online. After all, the information does not lose its quality just because it reaches more than one receiver. Factors like time, patience, motivation and determination acquire a lot more importance in this type of situation because it influences the way students process, understand and use the information later on.

Other people think that language classes through Skype are just like an improvisation, without setting a clear goal from the beginning. However, specialized company or a serious teacher will plan the lessons in detail according to a syllabus after evaluating the student’s background knowledge, linguistic needs and work specifics, among other factors. Consequently, the teacher will accomplish an established goal with each class. Even more, students who need Ielts lesson by Skype in order to prepare for their exam can take advantage of this chance and select a personalized course that will fulfill their requirements. Online language learning, like any other method, needs discipline and seriousness, which are essential factors necessary for any training.

Moreover, the fact that Skype only enables general language learning is definitely a misconception. Language learning does not have limits when using Skype because it practically represents the online alternative for training directly with a teacher, which is the traditional method. Therefore, it gives people the possibility to tackle any subject, whether general or corporate, not to mention about intensive lessons or tricks that have the purpose to improve language abilities faster, which leads us to another misconception, that Skype lessons develop only two skills, namely listening and speaking. Yes, students usually listen and carry various conversations on different topics with a native speaker, but they can also improve their reading and spelling. Teachers with extensive knowledge and breadth of experience are well aware that creating a syllabus will enrich vocabulary, improve grammar as well as developing the specific area of language usage necessary for the student in the future. The passive language skills, which include reading and writing become part of the student’s homework.

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