Using Skype for ELT Lessons: Interview with Marisa Pavan

Interview 8 of Twittering for Education

Skype is such an incredible tool
for education. In some cases, our students may not be able to join our lessons due to an illness or weather mishap. Some students may just find online learning more convenient than traveling to a location. In this case, the student chooses to take every lesson online. When training teachers to use Skype to teach English, several teachers question the way this works. Many want to know the dynamics and if using Skype for learning a language can be effective. Teachers want to know what type of lessons to conduct using Skype and if a coursebook is used. Therefore, I was excited that Marisa Pavan, @Mtranslator, shared her experience in conducting language lessons via Skype in a recent video interview! Marisa also teaches classes in a physical classroom so she is able to compare and contrast both experiences!

More Information


Marisa Pavan, @mtranslator, holds degrees in translation, interpretation and teaching from Instituto Superior Nº 28 “Olga Cossettini”, Rosario and has two decades of experience in teaching English as a Second Language. She has over 6 years experience working as a freelance English-Spanish/ Spanish-English translator. She is skilled in languages, translation, interpretation, training students to develop listening, speaking, writing and reading strategies, CAT tools and communication.

More Places You’ll Find Marisa

Previous Interviews

Check out the previous interviews Twittering for Education- Jo and Phil Hart, Twittering for Education- Eric and Melissa Sheninger, Twittering for Education- Will and Elle Deyamport, Connected Principals- George Couros, 1:1 Programs- Rich Kiker, Mobile Learning with Kids- Scott Newcomb, and Effective Leadership: Interview with Patrick Larkin!


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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell),, and on her blog,, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at


  1. Dear Shelly,

    It’s been a great pleasure to be interviewed by you and to have the chance of sharing my experience with other educators. Thanks a lot!
    Hugs from Argentina!

  2. Thanks for the interview Shelly and Marisa, a really interesting area. On an ELT chat one of the participants suggested that 100% video teaching was not ready for the mainstream yet and blended learning was overwhelmingly the favoured option of the chatters. I disagreed and suggested that it was simply a different form of discourse, with different rules but lots of opportunities.

    The questions in my mind are these:
    a) when you point a camera at most people the nature of the discourse seems to change – what do people think these changes are – how do they affect language?
    b) the format should give teachers the chance to go beyond typical classroom style activities -are there types of activities which are possible via video conferencing which would not be possible in a computer equipped classroom?
    c) what use can/does the teacher make of the students’ home environment for language practice activities?

    Would love to get in contact with anybody using Skype/video enabled environments, particularly for large scale projects – my twitter name is @japglish.

  3. Hello Japglish,

    Thanks for your comment and for your interest! I agree with you that teaching via Skype offers a wide scope of opportunities. As to the discourse,it becomes more interactive and the language doesn’t depend so much on body gestures even when there’s a camera in front of you.
    The types of activities I use can perfectly be used in a computer equipped classroom. There’s no difference as to the material used in classes via Skype. I share a wiki (pbworks) with my students where I upload the material we use in the classes.
    When I teach via Skype, I feel my student is in front of me in my office. The only difference is that there’s a camera in the middle. I forget my student is in his/her own house.
    I hope I have covered some of the issues you’ve been wondering about.
    Regards from Argentina!

  4. Thank you for the informative glimpse into a powerful, 21st-century teaching tool.

    Although I’ve never used Skype as a teacher, many of my students have used Skype to conduct their 20-30 informational interviews. Despite my initial scepticism that an online interview – even with video – could match a real off-campus visit to an office, students have consistently produced outstanding “trip reports” and presentations on their information interviews.

    Your post also attracted my attention because many universities, including mine, are discussing conducting more interviews via Skype for language assessment. Why wait until a graduate student lands in the United States? Why not assess their authentic speaking skills prior to their hectic first week so students can plan, if required, on taking additional English classes?

    So Skype, one of the many amazing communication technologies available, seems destined to play an ever larger role in English instruction.

  5. At talktocanada we also use Skype for our online classes — may it be individual or group classes. We use the tools in Skype to present information in several ways. Audio only and video conferencing are both available options for English classes online through Skype. Document sharing and screen sharing allow the teacher to share important information with all students in the class. The whiteboard application in Skype is also a handy tool for demonstrations of proper English usage.

  6. I have used Skype for teaching students that once came to my home for individual classes; they moved because of work and so we continued the classes on Skype. I used to think that Skype was a tool more for the intermediate and advanced levels but I am currently working with a student who is a beginner and both of us are thrilled with using Skype – the ‘sharing screen’ option is fantastic. I did a few group sessions on GoToMeeting and loved the dynamics of working on-line with a group but the technical end left me feeling very stressed. I would like to try small groups (maximum 5 to give everyone plenty of opportunity to talk)teaching on Skype but cannot figure out how to let people know on Skype that I’m available to set up a group. Can anyone help me out with the logistics? Would anyone else like to talk about their experiences teaching groups? Another thing that I’ve noticed using Skype is that the listening skills improve so much more quickly than person-to-person in my experience as there are fewer distractions. Thank you for talking about using Skype as a teaching tool; hopefully more potential language learners will come to understand just how wonderful a tool it is to use as a student.

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