The Online Virtual English Class
Thousands of Koreans attend English Classes everyday trying to learn to speak a Language that is now deemed essential. All teachers of English in Korea are expected to be able to Speak English by 2010. Schools, Colleges, Universities and a myriad of tiny after-school centers pay enormous fees for native speaking teachers to become their English Presence. Millions of bored students sit and waste their fees, not learning a language they are suddenly expected not only to learn, but to gain a speaking fluency in.
Technology has now made the Online Virtual Classroom available, where anybody wishing to learn to speak English can now tune into their Computer and take a lesson. For the month of January, the daily English lesson is free on Active English Speaking.com, as a marketing promotion, and also while the teachers train in learning effective teaching online, where not only is their English teaching skill on public display, but also the skills and abilities of their students.
This provides a valuable research tool for those seeking to document the way students apply themselves and learn a language, and also provides a learning tool for students of English who have progressive English lessons for review and replay. In what other situation can a student replay a lecture? As a student we used personal voice recorders for the more difficult or the lectures we missed. Today the whole lesson is fully documented and available for replay.Parents can review the lesson and see how their own child participated in class, and also join in the lesson and study English with their family.
More than one person can view and attend the lesson. A whole family or group can watch and learn together from one lesson. A whole Class or University can attend the lesson, and follow the lesson as a review or replay as the lesson is recorded and the recording available, at no charge, to the attendees. This is bringing the classroom into the home, school and world, and making Education an International Experience.
The Online English Lesson is fully interactive. Students can introduce themselves and talk to each other and the teacher, in the open chatline, without disturbing the lesson once it is in progress. Students can walk in ad out of the virtual classroom as they choose, and the student who chooses to watch and read, can do so, without the constant disturbance of classroom noise. Total immersion in the lesson is possible for those needing to concentrate. They can repeat words and speak out without fear of embarrassment, and they can practice their words as they choose, and repeat every word the teacher says, to learn the correct pronunciation and phrasing. They can also request clarification or the meaning of a word by asking the question on the chat.
Questions can be answered by other students as well as the teacher. More than one student can respond at a time, and variety of responses can be elicited simultaneously and recorded. Everyone has equal opportunity to participate. You do not ask permission, you simply type in your question or response. If you are not fluent with typing, after a series of lessons, you will learn how to type and thus write, as interaction depends on the student having the ability to write and type. The whiteboard means that the student can write a response in their own language, if they choose to still be a part of the lesson, without having English writing skills. The student always has the opportunity to constantly respond and react, and it is their choice. A student can sit and type every word he hears, or choose to ignore the chatline and concentrate on the teacher and her voice.
Students who constantly write, type, repeat words, and respond, benefit the most. Active learning is always being alert and interested and involved in a lesson. The student who attends and listens does not always get the same benefit as the student who responds.
In the Virtual field, the student can be anonymous, and participate as they choose, without fear of being itemized or victimized in any way. The Prime Minister of a country could be a student in the class, along with a 5 year old, and a Universityprofessor; or a whole classroom or congregation of a church or Club. There is no way of identifying the age, race, social status of a student, or even the number of people attending, unless they choose to identify themselves. The students are here to learn to speak English, and the only common factor is the fact that they have chosen to attend the Virtual Classroom and be a member.
The added bonus of the Online Interactive Virtual Classroom is the variety of students and their backgrounds. Students can learn about other cultures by interacting online with the students. In one class, students attend from Korea, China, Japan, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Saudi Arabia, America and England. It is a whole International Classroom, and at the end of the lesson, relationships have been formed. The final 15 minutes gives students the chance to get to know each other and share their personal details and comments. Students link with each other and a Class Community has been formed. Students look forward to the next class, knowing that they now have friends they have made, and that they are part of an Online Classroom.
The Oral session where the student feeds back information from the lesson, or chooses to speak as they wish, gives the class and teacher the student voice, and face, if they have a webcam. Students are able to view the student who is speaking and see their speaking ability and hear their speaking voice. Only the teacher is constantly available on webcam, and only one student can be visible and vocal at a time. This focuses the lesson on the teacher and the teacher voice, and the model is there for the student’s learning. The students do not get distracted with other voices and accents, and learn incorrect pronunciation of words, as they may do in the real classroom by focusing on vocal students instead of the teacher.
The text of the lesson is presented in Power Point, which also has interactive features that can be responded to without disturbing the flow of the speaker’s words.Students given whiteboard access can ask questions or clarification on the whiteboard, as well as on the chat. The Power Point Presentation is Powerful, as it provides the illustrations and images that may be necessary for clarification.The teacher also has at her control, her own bank and collection of photos, images and documents that can be downloaded during the lesson if needed. The teacher presents the lesson with ready access to a whole Library and also the internet. A new Window can be opened if required, and made available to the students, as well as Youtube videos, movies and slideshows. You could say, the teacher teaches with the whole Internet and computer at her fingertips. It is Powerful Teaching and even more powerful learning.
The lessons can be one-off, or they can be progressive. The value is there for the student who attends every session, as each lesson builds on the last session, and is progressive as well as being cumulative. A student can join in and review the past lessons, or start with the current lesson, and progress at that level and from that Point. The lessons become a continuing conversation and students increase their ability and skills with every lesson and session, according to their input and level of activity. A student, who joins in actively, will have a very good basic level of English, within three months, good with six months and excellent with a year of instruction. Beginner lessons and Lessons on other topics will commence as they are created. Active English Speaking will provide a full days instruction with English Speaking, Writing, Science, Mathematics, Art and Music,.
The future is providing specialist Courses in learning Korean, Chinese, Arabic, and Japanese, and other areas as requested. International Teachers will run their own sessions from Active English Speaking in the areas of their own specialist teaching.
The World of the Virtual Classroom is extending to areas as teachers join and create their own Virtual Classrooms.
Free English Classes are available every day until 20 January. You can see the sessions and join in by registering at Activeenglishspeaking
where the next lesson is featured on the FrontPage.
Details and membership are available from Maggi CarstairsMaggi_carstairs@yahoo.com
Don’t just read about it…come and participate in the lessons …every evening at 9.30PM Seoul Time.
Details available at Activeenglishspeaking.com
Marguerite Carstairs 2008©