The coronavirus pandemic brought a good chunk of the world to a standstill, with nations’ economies taking a huge hit. Still, it was business as usual in some sectors, like farming, transportation, factory, etc. For students, on the other hand, COVID-19 changed how they could learn. Schools and independent teachers turned to online methods such as Google Classroom, Google Meet, Zoom, Skype, etc.
While these methods were always available, the coronavirus pandemic led to their widespread use. It is not just for school-aged and college-aged children but also for non-traditional students – those learning a new language such as English. For these students, face-to-face learning also came to a halt, leading to the increased use of tools like Skype.
If you want to learn how to speak English but feel the COVID-19 is a hindrance, turn to Skype to help you continue with your teachings. Skype offers some face-to-face interaction behind the safety of the screen.
Skype is simply a free software you download to your computer, tablet, smartphone or other mobile device via the Internet. If you were meeting with a tutor face-to-face already, you can both download a copy of Skype and move the interactions online. Of course, you’ll need to have a camera and microphone to see each other “in person.”
Skype also offers a chat box so that you and your tutor can communicate via text. They can show you how to break words down into syllables so you can pronounce the word correctly and what they mean. With the text box, they can also provide you with other resources – YouTube, film or television series and books – that you should pick up and use to help you.
Although Google Meet, Zoom and other communication tools can be helpful in learning how to speak English, Skype has a real advantage to face-to-face learning in that it can be used anywhere at your convenience. With other methods, you must set up a time that’s best for you both and create a room for it to work.
With Skype, you just set up a time and go online with each other – no reason to set up a room or anything. And, if you want to find other available English-speaking teachers, Skype lets you do this as well. Many native English speakers use Skype to converse with others. So, if you need a native English speaker, you can find one fairly quickly.
There are so many benefits to using Skype for learning English during the COVID-19 pandemic. What are some of these benefits?
Since the coronavirus is so contagious, governments shut down non-essential businesses, including schools, to slow the spread of this deadly virus. As such, learning took a backseat, and educators had to come up with another method. Skype was one such method. Skype means you can still learn but in the safety and comfort of your home.
Rather than going out and meeting your English teacher and wearing a mask, you can learn how to speak and write English at home. You can still be face-to-face and hear how your English teaching is speaking. With Skype, you can also learn to read English, as you can use the text box to read what they are trying to teach you as they are talking to you.
Since there is no reason to travel, Skype makes learning English much easier because of its flexibility. There is no worrying about meeting in person out of your home; you can meet “ in person” on the computer as long as you have some spare time to learn English and your tutor has time to teach you.
And, if something should happen that the time you set up doesn’t work for either of you, a quick message to the other person means you never left or prepared to leave the house.
Since the world is pretty much online anyway, Skype is one technology that’s very effective in teaching and explaining ideas, opinions and more. As noted earlier, a text box is available that your tutor can provide you with other resources to use when you are not in a session.
Plus, you can record some of the conversations to review for later if you need help. It can be challenging to remember everything you are taught, so recording your conversation will allow you to effectively re-learn what you were taught during the lesson
Although Skype can help you learn English better in the comfort of your own home, you don’t want it to become dull and repetitive. What kinds of roleplaying ideas can be implemented to keep you engaged and continue learning English.
Learning English on the Internet may seem intimidating at first. Your teacher may put you at ease by keeping discussions short, using a question/answer format to learn more about you. They may ask you where you live, who lives with you, what you do for a living and why you want to learn the language
Your tutor may ask you to pick a topic you have an interest in, such as movies, books, or technology. Then you may need to do a little research on the matter. In this case, there are no right or wrong answers, but it can help the tutor find deficiencies in your English speaking and grammar. From there, they can correct you, giving you the right words of a sentence or pronunciation.
Another way to learn English is to say the English name of the facial part your teacher is pointing to on the screen. For example, it could be your nose, ears, eyes, forehead, chin, lips, mouth, etc. You can continue this with other parts of the body, making sure to say the name in English.
English-learning should also involve random conversations about movies, music and books you like. Talk about your favorite musical artist, how often you listen to them, what your favorite songs are and how you listen to their music. If the song is in your native language, you may be asked if you know the words in English or if there are any English songs you know.
The tutor may also randomly talk about books in English you have read, beginning with something easy and moving onto something a little more complicated.
There are all kinds of topics that can be introduced during the Skype English learning session that will help you converse better in English with people other than just your tutor.
During your Skype conversation, your tutor may keep the conversation interesting by using guessing games. Your teacher will ask you to guess what they are trying to ask, such as weather, animals, vehicles, etc.
When it comes to improving your English conversational skills, you can learn quite a bit about how to speak in English. You may be asked what you do for your career, if you work alone, if you travel overseas, etc.
Another way to break up the monotony of Skype is to conduct a video phone call with you. They may ask you to imagine yourself out and about in the world, go shopping, or eat at a restaurant and review the menu. This may seem a lot like the question/answer idea, but the key is to improve your English conversational skills.
As you see, most of the ideas center on the conversations. After all, conversing is the key way in which you are going to learn English. Any of these activities will help novice English speakers feel more confident in their skills to effectively communicate with native English speakers. Each of them will break up the boredom that usually comes with Skype learning.
COVID-19 may have slow the world to a near-crawl, but you don’t have to let it impede your ability to continue learning English. By finding a native English teacher, you continue to practice speaking the language and are corrected along the way… just as if you were face-to-face.
Best of all, Skype allows you to review what you were taught either by saving texts typed out or by recording the conversations. Learning English in a COVID world isn’t as difficult as you might think.