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Access to internet, headsets and online telephone software (e.g. Skype) has meant that more people than ever before can engage in distance studies and receive tutoring online.Some learners can feel a little bit sceptical to the idea of learning a language through Skype, and feel more comfortable with the idea of sitting face-to-face with their language teacher. In this article we will be discussing the advantages of learning foreign language via internet and Skype, from a Swedish teacher's point of view. 1. Location The benefits of learning a language online is that you can find a teacher on the internet even when there are no teachers available in your area. To be honest it is quite a task to find a language teacher unless you live in the big city that has language schools available for you that have your chosen language. Flying to the country of the desirable language and taking a course there is another option, though not all of us can afford it financially. Regardless of your location you always have an opportunity to learn your favorite language just by going online. This option is even more valuable for those of the students who have chosen exotic languages that might not be available at the major cities' language universities. 2. Speaking and listening skills According to my experience it may be beneficial for the learner to learn the language in distance without the actual face to face contact. The 'the music of the language' flows right in the learners ears that makes the lessons mainly auditory. Therefor, the learner slowly builds confidence and stops relying on the body language that can often times happen with teacher's physical presence. In the situations were it can be beneficial you, of course, can also use the webcam. 3. Having the lessons in the chat. In Skype, there are other features that can be used during a language lesson. The chat box can be used n order to check the spelling and emphasize other aspects. I often use the chat box to illustrate emphasis in words (only last week, I wrote to one learner to visually illustrate the emphasis of the word 'studerar' in Swedish, which is 'stu-dEEEEEErar'). Chat box can be sometimes used for the whole lesson to practice spelling and writing to each other. One can also use the chat box in order to have conversational practice with a student, where you can type in new vocabulary and the learner can save the chat history afterwards in order to practice again and again. 4. Giving examples, exchanging files, sharing links


Having an online lesson means that you have more flexibility. In Addition to the lesson the tutor can send you useful materials and documents that are relevant to your lesson. Links and images can be used in order to simplify the meaning of certain concepts and ideas. A picture can be more effective in showing the point of the teacher or tutor, as they say 'A picture says more than a 1,000 words.' It also provides the learner with a more varied learning experience. These kinds of experience can not be reached in a face-to-face tuition. 5. Save your time. Online learning helps you save your time and money. No expenses on traveling. Traveling time is, if not completely eliminated, minimized to however long it takes to turn the computer on, or walk down the stairs to the office/kitchen/lounge, or wherever the computer is located. I would recommend to give online lessons a try, unless you have a perfect language school right in your neighborhood with professional teachers that you feel comfortable to be in the same room.

The information above was presented by a native Swedish teacher Anneli B. Haake. Her specialty is learning adults online and she has held over 1,000 hours of distance lessons.

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