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Using Skype for Speaking & Listening practice in the language classroom

An overview of how we at Splendid Speaking have used Skype with EFL students

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Peter Travis
8 October 2009

I order to give advanced learners of English the opportunity to practise for their EFL exams with a native speaker teacher we offered a series of recorded interviews through Skype. The focus of these interviews was on particular speaking skills and the topic related to those commonly found in exams such as Cambridge CAE, CPE and IELTS. 

The recordings are delivered as podcasts and have three components:
- an introduction to the skill and context
- the interview itself
- and feedback on the speaker’s performance.

Listeners are supported with transcripts and listening tasks.

Further information at the links below. I would be keen to hear from anyone carrying out similar work.

Contact details: Peter Travis: info@splendid-speaking.com

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Gráinne Conole
10:54am 8 October 2009


Really interesting Peter. I am currently learning Spanish and can see huge potential for using Skype as a means of connecting with other learners. On my course we used an audio conferencing tool called Lyceum - which I didn't like that much. Next year I understand they are going to use Eluminate.

Rebecca Galley
11:25am 8 October 2009


Really interesting, and I guess that recording in this way provides greater opportunity for self assessment/ peer assessment and personal target setting too.

Peter Travis
11:51am 8 October 2009


Thanks Gráinne. Yes, the great thing about Skype compared to many of the audio conferencing tools out there is that it's such a widely-used technology. Students are often already using it to keep in touch with family or friends so there's little or no 'learning curve' (I have that term!).

Totally agree Rebecca. One of things I've been keen for our visitors to do is try this independently. It's now easy to record yourself using free web-based tools with all the opportunities for peer correction/self assessment this offers. 

Gráinne Conole
11:53am 8 October 2009


I think the fact that Skype is used so extensively is crucial and also its so easy to use. In terms of recording I used Audacity - have added as a link.

Peter Travis
12:44pm 8 October 2009


Thanks again Gráinne. Yes, we also use Audacity to clean up the recordings. A great free tool and thanks for adding the link.

Teresa MacKinnon
3:47pm 28 November 2009


Hi Peter, we are using wimba voice tools for language teaching at the Language Centre. They are easy to use and allow online creation of podcasts, voiceboards and voice email.

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