Myths about teaching via Skype from students’ perspective
Let us face the truth, there are many myths about teaching via Skype that students are aware of. Some of them are not true whereas some are mostly unlikely to happen. They came into life because this kind of teaching is still not as popular as standard classes in language schools. What to do if you want to smash them? Just answer the questions in a smart way and convince your potential students.
Based on my experience in teaching via Skype I have created the list of some of the most popular myths about teaching via Skype together with ready suggestions that you may tell your potential student.
1. Student, “This kind of learning is not effective.”
Your possible answer, “What do you mean by saying that this is not effective? What does it mean to you? Sessions one-to-one are generally more effective than classes in a bigger group. I concentrate my attention only on you, not on other students. I give you all the attention and in that way you can practice your skills and see the results quicker. I can react immediately when spotting some mistake to give you my feedback automatically after the lesson. You won’t find anything like that on standard courses in bigger groups. Another aspect is about effectiveness itself. My role is to motivate you and help you to keep the level of motivation high; however, I can’t do it for you.”
2. Student, “It’s too expensive.”
Your possible answer, “It’s true that a oneto- one lesson seems to be more expensive than a lesson in a group but have you ever counted all the costs, namely, commuting to classes and your own time to prepare to be in a language school? It’s also money. If you add it all together, you will see that by being at home you save time and money for commuting and in that way the classes are not as expensive as you previously thought. One more thing is that I dedicate all my time for you and create the materials only for you so you have it included in the total prize. Is your main aim only about finishing the course and passing the test or having greater abilities in speaking a foreign language and extending your skills?”
3. Student, “Special technological skills are necessary.”
Your possible answer, “If you can use Google, YouTube and social media why do you think that having classes online is something hard to do? It’s still Internet usage but a little different. You can choose to have classes without the camera and only via Skype. If you feel more comfortable after some time, you can also use Google Hangout or an interactive whiteboard and you can share the screen with me. There are many options but I’ll walk you through, show everything and give you the necessary instructions. You can always ask me about anything you like.”
4. Student, “It’s hard to create a relationship between the student and the teacher.”
Your possible answer, “Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes it’s harder. It simply depends on the people. Sometimes the student and teacher just click during the first minutes of the lesson, sometimes it lasts a little longer. When having classes via Skype it doesn’t mean having a worse connection. On the whole, if you won’t like it we can change the form of classes or you can choose a different teacher.”
5. Student, “It’s too complicated to manage the materials.”
Your possible answer, “You’ll be given a variety of materials and it may be a little chaotic but only if you won’t store them in one place. Nowadays, there’re many different ways of keeping data like pen drives, in separated folders or in a cloud. On the other hand, when attending a standard course in a language school will you keep your paper notes in one place or will you have a mess in your books and notebook?”
6. Student, “It’s not possible to hold the materials in your hands.”
Your possible answer, “True. The biggest advantage of having classes via Skype is the amount of materials that is used during sessions. Those are mostly digital, namely, links, worksheets, audio files and so on. They are very useful and you can store them for the future. However, if you want, we can sometimes use parts of paper books. Then we’ll use digital copies and you will see and decide which option is better for you. Additionally, you can print the materials and have them in a folder. It’s for your convenience.”
7. Student, “I don’t have the equipment.”
Your possible answer, “In the beginning you don’t have to have any high-quality headphones. The one pair that you have is fine. Later on I can give you some suggestions about some models to consider, but only if you’d really feel the need to. On the other hand, you can also use your smartphone and install Skype, in that way you can use the headset from the phone.”
I agree that there are many other myths about teaching via Skype, and sometimes potential students can ask many different questions but you have to understand them too. They have not tried that option and it is clear that they are a little worried. How about you? When you first thought about teaching via Skype, what thoughts did you have? What concerns did you have in your mind? How about now? It is better, because we are afraid of the things that we do not know or are not very sure of. I believe that with an open-minded student, you will find your way to work together and it will not matter if it is with or without a camera. Good luck!