ENGLISH PRONUNCIATION TRAINING WITH SKYPE
By Georgie Harding – Founder & Head Speech Pathologist
Are You Looking For English Pronunciation Lessons Over Skype?
In this article you’ll find out the pros and cons of English pronunciation / accent reduction training over skype or on the phone. You’ll find out what you need to know when choosing skype lessons and how to get the most out of it.
What Are English Pronunciation Lessons On Skype? Many people engage in accent reduction or English pronunciation training on Skype. With Skype, you are able to access training from an expert teacher, without having to travel to attend classes and lessons. On Skype you can make free video and audio calls and it is easy to use.
There are many great alternatives to Skype too. So if you are not a Skype user perhaps you can use one of these other tools to make video calls with your teacher for English pronunciation lessons: WhatsApp, Facetime, Viber, Talky, ooVoo or WeChat.
Why Skype Is Great For English Pronunciation Training.
Accessible From Anywhere.
No more wasted time travelling to and from appointments and lessons. No more constant rescheduling to try and fit in sessions around your busy work timetable. Having your English pronunciation lessons on skype gets around all that.
You can have lessons from a meeting room at work in your lunch break or from your lounge room in the evening time after work.
Many teachers offer lessons in the during business hours or evenings and even sometimes on the weekends. This allows you many more options that if you were to see a teacher face to face.
Easy Set Up With Skype
Skype is very easy to use. All you need is a good internet connection and a computer or laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Easy! Simply install Skype and you are ready to go. Most devices now are set up for recording and video so they include a camera and microphone.
See & Hear, Chat & Share on Skype
Skype is well suited to English Pronunciation lessons because there are many ways you can use it. You can make video calls, audio calls (see why I prefer audio lessons over video lessons below), chat and share screens and documents when required.
All these functions are super helpful and make Skype an excellent option for providing English pronunciation lessons online.
Skype Is Free.
Video calls, audio calls, chats and screen share etc on Skype are all free.
Calls from Skype to phones, landline phones and mobile phones do cost but they calls are charged at a very low rate. You can add money to your account easily with a credit card.
Check Your Teacher Is Specialised And Experienced.
One problem with internet based services is that literally anyone can start selling them!
I’ve met many students who have spent a lot of money on ineffective courses and teachers that have next to no experience and qualifications. Don’t let this be you!
To get maximum benefit from your lessons, your English pronunciation teacher should:
– have had at least 2 years teaching English pronunciation to advanced level learners of English (it’s very different teaching beginners)
– have a good knowledge of the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet), even if you don’t know the IPA and don’t want to learn it, your teacher should have full understanding of it.
– have experience working with speakers of your language background
– provide some kind of assessment or screening at the start in order to then focus on the most important areas
– provide you with video or audio resources to practice with in between skype classes
– set a good pace for the lesson with not much ‘chit chat’, but staying focused so the students gets the most out of the time.
Common Problems With Some Teachers.
Avoid Teachers Who Teach Every Sound In English
Teachers of pronunciation should not work through every sound in English. No learner needs to do this. This is a waste of time as there are many sounds in English that you are pronouncing just fine. You need to only focus on the ones you that you are mispronouncing.
You need advanced level training that is tailored to your needs. Beginners courses work through every sound in English. This is too general and basic for professional level learners.
Teachers Who Do Not Prioritise Correctly
Teachers need to have a good idea of what areas of pronunciation affect speech clarity and which ones don’t. I see SO many students who are getting knocked back from job interviews because of unclear English and they’ve been working with a teacher on their ‘th’ sounds.
This is crazy! It’s a complete waste of the students time and money. They should be working on the areas of pronunciation that affect their speech clarity the most.
You need to check that your teacher has experience and is reputable. Otherwise, you could waste a lot of time and effort working on the wrong sounds in the wrong way. See some questions to ask of your course provider below. These will help you avoid common traps and make sure your teacher is quality!
So, here are some questions to ask your teacher before you start English pronunciation lessons Skype.
- Have you worked with speakers of (your first language eg Thai, Spanish, Russian etc) before?
- What problems with English pronunciation is it common for speakers of (your first language) to have?
- What areas affect how easily listeners understand me the most?
- Will we cover every sound in English? (A good teacher will say, no, you don’t need to!)
- What practice resources will you provide me with so I can practice in between my skype lessons?
How Long Are English Pronunciation Skype Lessons?
English Pronunciation Skype lessons usually go for 30, 45 or 60 minutes.
This gives the teacher and student enough time to do some teaching, some correction and a good amount of practice.
Personally, I prefer 30 minute English pronunciation Skype sessions.
Every Speech Active Course includes a 30 minute skype call. It’s a good enough time to screen all the areas requiring improvement, give helpful feedback, create a target vocab list and answer questions.
If a person has a presentation that they would like to work through or an interview that they want to prepare for specifically, a 45 minute session or 60 minute session is a good idea.
How Much Do English Pronunciation Skype Lessons Cost?
With A Specialist Teacher
A specialist teacher is someone who has had long term experience providing English pronunciation and English accent training. Usually they are Speech Pathologists or Speech and Language Therapists who have specialised in working in the area of English pronunciation training (this is not included in Speech Pathology degree) but they may also be people who have studied Linguistics for example.
A specialist teacher will have a sound knowledge of the IPA, the International Phonetic Alphabet. In my opinion this is essential to effectively teach English pronunciation skills.
A Skype session with a specialist teacher will often cost around $40 US for 30 minutes ($60 AUD or £30 or €36).
With an ESL Tutor
Teachers with general ESL teaching qualifications usually teach all areas of English, such as reading, grammar, comprehension etc. Not many specialise in English pronunciation to an extent where they know the IPA (the International Phonetic Alphabet).
Teachers with this background will often teach pronunciation using an English teaching book, and work through all the sounds in English.
A Skype session with an ESL teacher will often cost around $32 US for 30 minutes ($35 AUD or £18 or €22).
Once A Week Training Is Not Enough!
The biggest factor determining your success is how often you practice. If you only practice once a week during your skype lessons your speech and pronunciation won’t change much.
You need to be practising every few days, ideally every day!
Your teacher should provide you with clear exercises and activities to practise with in video or audio. Ideally you could dip in and out of these in between your English pronunciation lessons skype.
Downsides To Using Skype For Accent Reduction Lessons
Avoiding Technical Problems
A technical problem or poor connection can be a complete show stopper for Skype lessons if you’re not well prepared.
Let’s face it, even when you think you’ve covered all bases (got everything sorted), sometimes technical issues happen without warning and they can be challenging to fix when on the spot (we say “on the spot” when we are taken by surprise by something).
There are a few things you can do to minimise the chances of a technical problem and not being able to work around it.
1. Recommendation – Set Up Skype On More Than One Device
Having more than one good, reliable device helps. If your first option fails you have a second one lined up. It might be something as small as leaving your laptop charger at work, or your boyfriend has “borrowed” your samsung tablet charger and hasn’t put it back!
These things happen! So be prepared, and make sure you have a back up device, like a newish ipad or phone that can be used if there is a problem with your first option.
2. Recommendation – Have 2 Internet Connection Options
If your home internet is playing up (we say something is “playing up” when it’s not working properly) or cuts out unexpectedly you’ll need to be able to move to your mobile connection or other alternative.
You can either tether to your phone or just use Skype or WhatsApp directly from your phone for the lesson.
Some Sounds Not Distinguishable For Example ‘th’ & /s/.
The sound quality over the phone and on Skype can be a problem for distinguishing between some English sounds.
For example, the sound /s/ sounds a lot like ‘th’ – voiceless ‘th’ like in ‘think’.
And it’s difficult to tell the difference between /z/ and voiced ‘th’ like in ‘that’ over the phone and skype.
If it’s video, then you can look at the mouth position to monitor this. If it’s on the phone, you should check what mouth position the person is making for the sounds.
The sounds /m/ and /n/ can also be difficult to distinguish. Teachers will need to listen carefully for these sounds.
Why Skype Audio Calls Are Better Than Skype Video Lessons
Students get distracted by the video. This is a real problem. When people are using Skype, they can see themselves and also see the other person. For many people this is very, very distracting.
People tend to watch, rather than listen.
For that reason, I much prefer using audio skype calls rather than video calls for accent reduction skype training.
Many people are visual learners. They want to see things because it’s easier for them to learn that way. That’s why so many of the people I work with need to improve their listening skills.
So, to improve listening skills and to get students to consciously think about their mouth positions while they are making sounds turn off the video!
This way, they won’t be distracted by their hair style, the picture behind their teacher or something else. They will be 100% focused on LISTENING to the sounds they make and FEELING how they pronounce sounds.
I turn off the video for all my sessions. It is just so much better! The student is more focused on the right things.
Where Can I Start English Pronunciation Skype Classes?
You can start English Pronunciation lessons on Skype with Speech Active. In fact all of our courses include one 30 minute phone – skype voice training session.
Students can then choose if they want more skype training at any time during their course.
We provide Skype courses in combination with our online training. This is an awesome combination that has been refined through years of experience, to get the best results for our students.
How does it work?
You enrol in a Speech Active Online course that is fully tailored for speakers of your first language.
The course will work through each area of English pronunciation that speakers of your first language find challenging. As well as developing clear English, you will improve your vocabulary, expression, listening skills, understanding of English expressions and get lots of practise improving your English in casual and professional conversations.
See the details of our Speech Active English Pronunciation Course that is tailored to your needs here: Speech Active English Pronunciation Course List.
Each week we recommend you take two video lessons. The course is flexible so you can decide on your own schedule and take your lessons whenever suits you.
In between your video lessons, you’ll improve and practice with the recommended practise activities and exercise audio files provided.
At around the 4 – 6 week stage, you will have a 30 minute phone training session with Georgie. She will check you are on track, check your priority areas, progress and give you helpful feedback. She will make sure you’re on track and are clear on how to get the most from your online training.
Our students can also call us anytime for a chat and some feedback. Some students want to have more lengthy phone training sessions to assist with preparation for interviews or presentations coming up. You can add these at any stage during your course.
In combination with a specialised Speech Active course, we offer two 30 minute Skype sessions for $136.
This is with a fully trained, experienced Speech Active Speech Pathologist.
If you want to speak to us about more intensive Skype training, please call us on +61 411 295 828, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or chat with us using the chat widget on our website.
Do I Really Need Skype English Pronunciation Training?
Speech Active Courses are designed specifically for busy professionals to get maximum benefit with a self managed course, so they can dip in and out of training around their schedules.
Our courses are a unique combination of tailored video lessons, audio training and progress check recording tools.
Most of our clients find that the online course has everything they need to successfully develop clear English so they can speak English with more confidence. They simply find that they don’t need the skype training too.
Some students enrol in additional Skype classes to prepare for a special interview or to perfect a presentation that they have coming up.
The vast majority of our students, the online course guides them through the areas of pronunciation that they need to improve, step by step with all the practice that they need.
You can always enrol in Skype sessions during your course if you want to, or simply call us for a chat.
I hope this post has given you some helpful tips when researching English pronunciation accent reduction Skype.
We are lucky that training can be provided in a great range of ways that are helpful for students!
Accent reduction classes skype are just one way that students can access expert advice form the comfort of their own home. Without the hassle of travel. This makes training so much more accessible.
All the best with finding your accent reduction classes skype, please call us to discuss what you are wanting to improve and how we can help you achieve these goals.
We look forward to hearing from you.
English Pronunciation Skype Phone Lessons
Georgie Harding has assisted thousands of people from all over the world with improving their clarity and spoken English skills. A Speech Pathology degree (BAppSc(SpPath) and CELTA qualifications and over 15 years of experience providing 1:1, group and online training make Georgie a leader in her field.
Georgie is the creator the world’s leading English Pronunciation online courses that are tailored to the language background of the student and presents regularly at Universities.
If you’ve ever met Georgie or completed her award winning courses you’ll know how passionate she is about helping people move forward with better spoken English and more confidence.
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