Discover the advantages that I offer as an online Spanish teacher, licensed in Hispanic Philology and specialized in Spanish for foreigners, using video calling tools, such as Skype, for private online Spanish classes.

If you are thinking of about the possibility of having an online language learning experience, your teacher will probably suggest that you use most popular virtual communication tool in the world: Skype.

The use of video calls allows real-time communication between students and teachers, no matter where they are and how far away they are. Virtual learning is gaining more and more followers in all areas, whether it be learning a musical instrument or improving your conversation in a foreign language with a native teacher, and this is what I’m going to elaborate on now: the use of Skype in Spanish online classes.

Why use video calls to learn Spanish?

Those who like traditional teaching methods will maybe wonder why there are more and more virtual students. They will possibly argue that this way of learning is more impersonal, but I’m going to show you otherwise!

First of all, online learning guarantees flexibility for the students as regards the times of the classes, and gives them the possibility of carrying out the class in the comfort of their own home. Secondly, it means that you save money, as you won’t have to travel to where the teacher gives the classes, and this also means that you don’t lose so much of your valuable time.

Another advantage is that I always offer a trial lesson to my students. This is very beneficial because, if the student finds that this method is not for him, then it hasn’t cost him anything and he hasn’t even left his own house. On top of this, learning online using a webcam can be just as friendly and engaging as learning with a teacher face to face, because the communication doesn’t depend on the means of doing it, but rather on the person who is carrying out the teaching.

As regards foreign language learning, Skype is currently the main method of communication between teachers and students who are in different parts of the world and want to do online Spanish classes.

Why choose Skype for online classes and not other video calling software?

A practical tool at a technical level

Among the many advantages that Skype has (apart from being able to make free calls) are the ease and speed of installation, as well as it being multi-platform, allowing you to make video calls with students using Windows, iOS, Android, or Linux.

I also find it very practical to use the chat feature with my students when they need to see how a specific word is written. This feature gives the option to share documents, images, and emoticons in our online Spanish class and, as if that were not enough, it also includes the option to record a video and share it instantly via chat, something that Google Hangouts does not offer at the moment.

Record and share videos instantly

The possibility of recording videos and sending them via chat offers some significant advantages to learning. On the one hand, I usually send immediate clarifications using videos, which is more fun for a student than reading a text.

On the other hand, I also suggest to my students that they record a video as homework, and in this way they can practice speaking. This method is very useful for the student as a form of self-evaluation, as his speaking is recorded and we can identify his mistakes more effectively. In addition, using videos with students allows them to practice and gives them more confidence when they communicate in spontaneous conversations.

Using the shared screen

Another advantage of Skype is the fact that the teacher can share his screen with the student. Once the video call has started, an icon of a plus sign appears which, if clicked, offers the option to share the screen. I find it very useful for the student to be able to see some teaching content on my screen without having to send over lots of documents. I also share my screen with my students when I want to correct some of their text in real time (my student sees his document in Word and, at the same time, I highlight the errors and I give the explanations).

Using Skype as a telephone practice

In my experience as a teacher, some students who can speak Spanish quite fluently, find it much more difficult to communicate when it comes to having a telephone conversation, as they aren’t able to use non-verbal communication. These students manage to make themselves understood when they are in front of someone, but when they talk on the phone they get very nervous and find it difficult to find the exact words to express themselves correctly.

With Skype, you can temporarily remove the camera and just have audio, and in this way you are able to practice a telephone situation between the student and the teacher. In this dialogue, I pretend to be a real life person: a bank worker that they have asked to change some details about their bank account, the workman that they have asked to do some repairs in their house, or the nurse from the health centre who is making an appointment for them.

There are many examples of situations for the teacher to train his student using role play so that they become more fluent in their day-to-day conversations.

Simultaneous translation

One of the new options that Skype offers us in our video calls is simultaneous translation. Although foreign language teachers advise their students not to depend on online translation tools – as they can often give very erroneous translations –  this tool could be very useful in certain situations.

What can we do if our student wants to communicate something that they find difficult to express at their current level? Normally we will ask them to try and express themselves using the vocabulary they have, but, if it is something urgent, then the use of the simultaneous translator may help to facilitate the communication in the class, especially when the student and the teacher don’t share the same language.

Skype is no longer just a personal or professional communication tool, it can also be the most comfortable and welcoming virtual classroom in the world for online Spanish classes. You only need a good connection, a microphone and … a nice smile!

So, what are you waiting for? Why don’t you try out Spanish classes online from the comfort of your own home and start your journey towards learning the second most widely spoken language in the world? I’m waiting for your call!

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