The statement in the title gave us at the inspiration to set up ‘The English Skype Room’.
Our tutors have been teaching English and other Modern Languages for many years and the same problem came up again and again when our students would say, ‘It was fine when I was in the country, it just came naturally to me, but now I have forgotten it all again’. We all know the feeling! We decided to set up the ‘next best thing’ to being in the country: provide a platform for anyone around the world to have conversation lessons, lessons on business or interviews and brush up on their English before going on holiday or a trip.
Modern technology has shrunk the world and it is so easy to sit at home and talk to anyone from any country through Skype or the Web. We think it is vital for learners of English to take advantage of this new technology: use it to improve your job prospects, prepare for that interview or business trip.
English has become the global language of business and we want to help our customers feel confident in using it and applying their knowledge to everyday situations. It can be nerve racking at the beginning to speak English over Skype with someone you don’t know. Our tutors are all friendly and good listeners and you will soon ‘feel at home’ even though you are at home!
Here are a few tips for preparing for a Skype lesson…
Read through the English lesson carefully before you start.
Look up any new words in a dictionary (online dictionaries are quick and useful)
Listen carefully to your tutor and don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat the question.
Keep your answers simple using language you are familiar with at first: your tutor is skilled at getting you to be more adventurous.
Don’t worry about making mistakes! We like mistakes…it means you are learning!
Do you want to learn English?
Do you want to improve your English for job prospects or promotion?
Are you coming over to the UK for a business trip or holiday?
Are you looking to improve your English because you want to study in Britain?
An online course of grammar and worksheets is very useful and so is watching Youtube English lesson videos, reading and listening to the news and working from a text book. All great ideas! These strategies will help with your passive learning, but it is active and interactive learning that will boost your English skills. Using Skype to communicate with a native English speaker is the perfect way to learn a language: it is the next best thing to actually being in the country.
Skype English lessons enable you to have a face-to-face conversation; you can ask to learn what you really need; ask for clarification and get instant feedback; listen to clear British pronunciation and improve your pronunciation skills; hear up to date English; you are free to make mistakes without anyone else hearing them. That has got to be a bonus! During Skype English classes the teacher can text vocabulary and written information directly to you or share the screen so that you can see the teaching material and work on a text or exercise or video/ audio clip together. The lesson is so alive and vital that it is just like being in a classroom ……. not a classroom but a ‘skyperoom’.
Make sure that the course you chose is the correct level for you and plan a programme of learning for yourself. You should try to have a balance between the four language skills of Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing. Speaking and Listening are by far the most difficult and, as luck would have it, they are the most difficult and need the most practice. Try to set aside 20 minutes every day to dedicate to your learning. An interactive lesson through Skype or on the phone will be a huge boost to your confidence: it is active learning and a reassuring way to try out your skills with a sympathetic teacher who is not judging you and who has the skills to guide you, correct you and help you improve your English. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes …it means you will learn from them.
With our Gold Plan you will receive a learning pack of resources to take you through the 6 lessons in the course as well as recordings, so you can replay your lesson and practise in your own time; you will literally hear your progress.
The brain needs a little help along the way sometimes and the science proves this. The cortex system or the “advanced” part of the brain brain is divided into two halves, the left and the right. The left is used for words, logic, number, sequence, analysis, lists, detail and the right for rhythm, spatial awareness, gestalt, imagination, colour and dimension. If you can link the two sides of your brain in your learning you have more likelihood of getting the information to ‘stick’ and of transferring the information from the short term memory to the long term. That is why colour-coding, mnemonics, mind-mapping, listing and chunking words into groups, putting groups of words to a rhythm or chant or bouncing a ball while saying the words are all so effective: both sides of the brain are working together, words with music, sequence with imagination, lists with spatial awareness.
Here you are using images to link a word in your language with a word in a foreign language. The English word carpet is ‘tapis’ in French so you imagine a carpet with a picture of a tap woven into it. The English word for trousers is ‘Hose’ in German, so you think of a man wearing trousers and watering his garden with a hose. You can play around with this for all language learning. It works!
This method is very useful for learning vocabulary of everyday things. Choose a town or city you know well and use objects within that place as the cues to recall the images that link to the word you want to learn. The image coding the word for a book, for example, could be associated with a book on the shelf in the library. Different parts of the town contain the image and the word you want to learn. Your brain goes on a journey around the town to retrieve the word. Adjectives could all be in the park; blue, fast, cold and your verbs could be in the sports centre; jump, go, lift, eat.
This is an excellent method to remember a sequence of words (such as a verb list) or a sentence structure and word order. Make a story in your head using the words in that order, for example the verbs that have the auxiliary verb “to be” in the perfect tense in German (stay, drive, go, come, climb….). When I was staying at the Ritz, I drove out of London and went to the……