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The newer technologies, headsets and online telephone software such as Skype allow us to participate in distance studies and receive language classes and tutorials online. Sitting comfortably in your favorite chair and face to face with your teacher makes the learning process more relaxed and effective. 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. Your location Learning online means you can learn a language even though there are no teachers available locally where you live. Finding a foreign language teacher can be a real challenge sometimes, unless you live in some capital or major city with language schools and a wide range of foreign languages to choose from. 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 is particularly important for those learning less common languages, which can be hard to come by even in major cities. Your skills to speak and listen 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 attention of the student is tied to the listening of 'the music of the language. Therefor, the learner slowly builds confidence and stops relying on the body language that can often times happen with teacher's physical presence. If you feel comfortable enough to showing your face to your distance teacher the webcam can be used. 3. Chatting Skype provides you with a list of options you can choose from in order to have you language lesson. In order to check your spelling and some other language aspects the chat box can be used by both learner and teacher. The chat box is often used to illustrate certain stresses of the words like in 'studerar' which can be illustrated as 'stu-dEEEEEErar'. Chat box can be sometimes used for the whole lesson to practice spelling and writing to each other. I also use it every time I run conversational practice sessions with more fluent students, as I can type out new words as we go along and the learner can save the chat record to their computer after the session. 4. Sharing links, exchanging files, giving examples Sitting in front of your computer means more flexibility. The tutor can instantly transfer files or documents that can be useful in addition to the lesson material. Links and images can be used in


order to simplify the meaning of certain concepts and ideas. A picture says more than 1,000 words, the saying goes, and I find it highly effective to sometimes be able to quickly find a picture on the internet that illustrate exactly what I mean. At the same time it adds more entertainment and variety to the learning process. This level of flexibility is not possible in face-to-face tuition. 5. Don't waste your time Online learning helps you save your time and money. No expenses on traveling. Even if you can't completely eliminate your traveling time, you minimize it to however long it takes you to get to your computer. There is nothing wrong with wanting to sit in front of a teacher in the same room (and not just in front of a webcam), but unless there is a perfect language school or language tutor in the immediate neighbourhood, I would recommend giving online lessons a go.

The information above was presented by a native Swedish teacher Anneli B. Haake. She has taught over 1,000 hours and specialises in online distance learning for adults.

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