Learning Spanish via Skype
If you want to learn another language (and there are lots of reasons why you should) then you’re going to have to speak it. Lots of it. While online learning in general is very good for practising your listening, reading and to a lesser extent your writing, it is usually very poor for practising your speaking. The exception, of course, is when you use Skype to speak with a native or a teacher of your target language.
What are the benefits of learning Spanish via Skype?
Location. If you don’t live in a major city or there are few Spanish teachers available in your area, you can use Skype to talk to teachers on the other side of the world. Perhaps you already have a Spanish teacher, but soon you will be moving home or going to school in a different part of the world. Skype allows you to stay in contact.
Quality. There might be Spanish teachers in your local area, but none who are up to the standard that you would expect of a teacher. With Skype, you can find some of the best teachers in the world without leaving your living room.
Time. Travelling to a lesson costs both time and money. Save on both by learning online.
Catching up. If you enroll on a course with Spanish Tutor DC, then miss a lesson due to illness, you don’t have to fall behind. Instead, you can have a catch up session with one of our tutors through Skype.
Technological advantages. The teacher can share files, links and other resources through Skype, including pictures and other language learning aids such as audio clips. Skype also has a text chat function, which can help with spelling and pronunciation.
What do I need to effectively learn Spanish via Skype?
You don’t need the latest and greatest technology to use Skype. But before you sit down for your first online Spanish lesson, there are a few basics that you should put into place.
A stable internet connection. You can find out how much bandwidth you’ll need for a Skype call here.
You’ll need to download Skype (or an alternative piece of voice messaging software). Skype is free and can be easily downloaded via Ninite.
A webcam and a microphone. Most modern laptops have these built-in, but you might need to buy them separately for some desktops. Some people feel more comfortable with a headset, but these are a personal choice.
Get all the materials that you’ll need for class ready on your desk. Don’t waste your time searching for a pen and paper – you’ve paid for every minute! If you feel more comfortable using a computer, then you could use a word processor instead of a notepad.
Things to watch out for when learning Spanish via Skype…
To get the most out of your Spanish lessons, try to avoid these common pitfalls…
Don’t forget to do your homework. Talk to previous students and see if they can recommend a teacher. Prior to your first lesson, the school should tell you a little bit about your teacher’s qualifications. You want a professional with plenty of experience.
Don’t pay for a series of packages without having a trial lesson first. Ask the school if you can pay for just one lesson. If you like it, then pay for the course. If not, keep looking until you find an excellent teacher.
Remember – you get out what you put in. Just as with face to face classes, the lesson is only one part of the learning process. You should prepare for your lessons well and revise your Spanish frequently.
One final thing… Spanish lessons through Skype are great practice, especially if there’s some reason that you can’t easily get to a Spanish school. But if you have the choice between a Skype lesson and a face to face lesson, choose the face to face lesson if possible. Plenty of aspects of communication are still lost through faulty video messaging, and face to face speaking is still the best way to practice for speaking with locals in the future. Having said that, teaching quality is the most important aspect of all, so a Skype lesson with a good teacher is a better option than a face to face class with a mediocre teacher.
Whether you live in Washington DC or anywhere else in the world, you can learn Spanish with Spanish Tutor DC. Find out more about our Skype and phone classes.
Photo Credit: dutruong.t733
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