Online English Conversation Schools Pros and Cons
Online English Conversation Study, what are the pros and cons? Hello, I am Mark Smith, Founder of Smith’s School of English established in 1996 and the owner of the Smith’s School of English Online Franchise, Kawanishi, Hyogo. Today I wish to write just a few words about what my experience teaching English conversation both in the classroom and online has taught me.
Online lessons have developed a reputation for being cheap. However, in a recent survey at a Smith’s School of English Classroom, 95% of all students said that they would not choose online English study. No matter how cheap it became. I asked them why, and, I have been teaching online for a couple of years now and in Classrooms since 1996. Please let me share a selection of pros and cons related to Online Vs Classroom English Conversation study that I have learned.
A selection of Pros and Cons
Online English conversation requires the use of a computer of some kind. Even in this age of computers, there are still many people who dislike computers. For example, if I am given a choice between a Kindle Book and a Printed Paper Book of the same title I will choose the printed paper book.
And yet Amazon does sell a lot of Kindle books.
Student physical attendance
English Conversation Classroom lessons require physically preparing for and travelling to a classroom. Getting dressed, maybe having a shave or putting on makeup, maybe not? Walking, getting on a bicycle, train or driving a car to the classroom.
The online classroom allows students to blank out the background, show only that part of themselves they wish to show. No makeup, shaving or even changing out of Pajamas is required.
One secret to success with English Conversation is regular study. Regular attendance requires setting a study schedule and sticking to that schedule as best you can. It is often easier to forget or cancel and online English lesson than a classroom lesson.
When students enter an English conversation classroom they are most usually simulating entering an English speaking country. The English conversation classroom is exclusively English. Students only see and hear English while inside the English school classroom.
However, when studying English online the student is often sitting in a Japanese language environment. At home, it could be family speaking Japanese in the background or television showing a Japanese language drama. I once had an online student try doing a lesson while sitting in a coffee shop, this student was surrounded by Japanese conversation and simply could not focus on English.
My best online students have a dedicated quiet space prepared before they connect to my lessons. Many online students do not. Outside of the dedicated English conversation classroom, there may be all kinds of distractions. Japanese conversations, interesting TV dramas, friends suddenly arriving to say hello, LINE message notifications pinging, Instagram this list is almost endless.
Inside an English conversation classroom, there is only English conversation happening. The focus is 100% on English conversation.
Close Physical Contact
One huge benefit felt by many classroom students of the English language is meeting a foreigner face to face, maybe shaking hands, feeling the ambience of body language and enjoying the 3D live presentation. And of course building an in person relationship over time.
Online lessons most commonly lose all of these live classroom benefits. However at Smith’s dedicated online schools we have a solution. Please check my school in Kawanishi and see how we create face to face, in person, relationship with our online students https://smithweb.co.jp/kawanishi/
In my experience and at this moment in history it is my belief that online English conversation is excellent for very few students. Not many genuine and motivated students will eventually succeed and learn to speak English online. But a small number will. Those students already enjoy working online and have a strong knowledge of the hardware and software they use. These students prefer not to meet face to face and give little value to shaking hands, 3D ambience, or any of benefits of classroom English conversation environment. They do not wish to travel to a classroom and do not wish to prepare physically to meet in person. These students are completely comfortable working online.
Sadly, we are already hearing many concerns related to cheap online lessons. One large complaint being that of Non-native teachers, quickly gathered up from Universities in non-Native English speaking countries who simply are trying to make a few dollars online. These are not professional English teachers who are dedicated to teaching English because they love teaching English, because their family income depends on their income from being a professional English Conversation teacher. You simply cannot find a great English teacher at a very cheap price. Many Japanese I speak to are staying away from these cheap options.
And yet we see some students, perhaps not many, but some genuine students who do need professional English teachers to be online. Therefore we felt there does need to be an option to offer professional, experienced and dedicated online English Conversation Teachers supported by a long-standing professional English School and its Japanese staff. And so after many years of being exclusively a classroom school, Smith’s School of English now offers a few 100% online schools. To learn more please visit my Kawanishi school’s homepage. https://smithweb.co.jp/kawanishi/