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Nowadays, language classes and tutorials can be received from a distance by means of online telephone software such as Skype, headsets and access to internet of course. Admit one feels more special and focused when your you are sitting comfortably in your chair face to face with your 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 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. The other option is to travel to the country in question and do an intensive course, which is highly effective but may be on the expensive side for many learners. That's why regardless of your location you can always go online and learn the language you have chosen. Some of the less common languages might not be found even at the major cities' universities, that's why it is even more important to study via internet. 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. Having the lessons in the chat. Skype provides you with a list of options you can choose from in order to have you language lesson. Both learner and tutor can use the chat box in Skype in real-time, to check spelling and to emphasize other aspects. In order to illustrate certain spelling or emphasis nuances the chat box can be used, like in the word 'studerar' illustrated as 'stu-dEEEEEErar'. Sometimes a full lesson can be spent in chat box training spelling and word order. The chat box is also a very useful tool to run conversational practices with more fluent students, it allows you to type in new words and the student has he opportunity to save in to the chat history. 4. File transfers, sharing links and giving examples Having a lesson online while you are sitting in front of your computer gives you more freedom. The tutor can instantly transfer files or documents that can be useful in addition to the lesson material.


Both learner and tutor can share links and use images to exemplify meanings and concepts. Sometimes it is far more effective to find a picture that illustrates your point on the internet than struggling to shape it in words. 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 One can save a lot of time and money by learning online. 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. Of course, you can attend classes at your language school, but unless it is a perfect language school or a tutor in your neighborhood, I would recommend to give online lessons a try.

Anneli B. Haake is a native Swedish language teacher. She has taught over 1,000 hours and specialises in online distance learning for adults.

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