Thanks to the internet and the webcam, a virtual education is not only possible but offers an opportunity for business.
Active English Speaking is an educational website which offers a variety of lessons for a fee. Either through a group lesson, or one-on-one tutoring, they allow their students the chance to learn, ask questions, and interact with other classmates, through a virtual classroom.
Maggi Carstairs is not just the owner of Active English Speaking but also a teacher. However, she’s not the only teacher available. Teachers interested in this unique form of education may also apply with Maggi for a position, further extending the educational possibilities for her students.
What inspired you to launch Active English Speaking?
ActiveEnglishSpeaking started because there was a need for classes on subjects beyond what I could teach, so I started the English lessons and also Chinese lessons. Then I discovered the technology of WizIQ that suddenly made online lessons more than just for my students. I started teaching students from all over the world in the same classroom, and discovered a whole new Virtual School where not only could students attend classes, but they could also return to the recorded lessons as they wished. They were able to view lessons they could not attend, and have a progressive course they could access as they wish.
The Virtual Classroom made this possible and I took my online lessons into ‘live’ lessons to the world.
What separates your website from the other virtual classes currently available on the internet?
The personal touch separates my classes from other classes… as students relate and interact with the teacher and with each other using the whiteboard and chatline. They are able to interact during the lesson in a very open way, ask questions, reply to questions, and most importantly share their own writing, and voice and experiences with others. The lesson flows and follows the input of the students and caters to the levels of the students who are interested in seeing their responses and the responses of other students.
The lessons are easy to follow, students enjoy the interaction, and the lessons can follow what the student needs.
How does one of your lessons work?
I plan the lesson, and may create a Power Point, files, photos; notes or whatever is needed, depending on the topic and what is being taught. Prior to the lesson these are downloaded and available to all on the website, and to my class. When the lesson opens, I ask students to introduce themselves and share something about themselves, then go into the lesson during which students can interact using the whiteboard or voice.
I am on a webcam so they can see me as I speak, and I sometimes play the Power Point first, other times go straight into the lesson. At all times students can ask questions, and talk amongst themselves, and share their ideas. This makes it very interesting as students represent many different countries and cultures and share their view or culture. The final part of the lesson is where students who have microphones chat to the class, and I type what they are saying so other students can read while they listen to a different accent and voice. The final part is small student chat and comments to the teacher.
How many different virtual teachers/lessons would you say are currently available on your website?
I teach English, Art and Cooking as a base for Conversational English. Steve teaches Japanese and Russian, Mary was teaching Chinese, Charlie is teaching Koreas, and Kevin was teaching Business English. Rob will teach Mathematics. There is Rachel in Europe with English for Lawyers, Accountants and Doctors, and other teachers will create lessons as they are needed Teachers are able to apply to start their own classes if they wish. There is no cost to them to teach on ActiveEnglishSpeaking. They get paid through Paypal and are independent. I am the Main Teacher and will teach whatever the student needs…Group planned lessons and Private lessons for individuals or companies.
What goals do you have for Active English Speaking over the next year?
To extend to a certified Course for Students with problems who may wish to study at home instead of attending a School. To provide lessons for younger kids and students who want to improve Literacy and Numeracy.
To extend to students in Australia, America and other English Speaking countries who have a need for Education but who cannot go to school; Also Students in hospitals and on vacations and students who are traveling. I also have plans to create Literacy Classes for Adults who need to learn to read and write.
What are all the courses you currently offer? Are there any that you plan to add to the curriculum over the next year?
Currently I offer Basic English Courses. There are 5 different Courses which include Business English, Basic Conversation, Travel English, and IELTS and TOFL English training for Exams. Students can request whatever their focus. I taught a Group of Research Scientists in Korea and also a group of Community Members. Classes are devised for any specialized Group needing instruction in English Speaking.
The Plans for the future is to extend Courses to Art, Photography, Cooking, Child Management, Mathematic, Homework, and Basic Literacy and Numeracy for students in Hospitals and for students traveling with parents who are working overseas or in different locations.
What does a potential teacher need to go through before they can teach a course through your website? What are their qualifications?
Most Teachers teaching ESL Courses have an ESL Certificate and training in teaching ESL English. Some may not if they are teaching Conversation and speaking Social English. If teachers have the confidence to talk to a class in front of a web Camera, and interact with students, they are welcome to start classes. If they are not competent, the students will not attend the classes, so the students are the judge of the teachers and attend the classes because they see value in the classes.
I do a lot of free classes in India and China as many students want to learn but cannot afford the lessons.
I also charge a small fee so students can afford the lessons, and a years membership means students can do all the courses they wish to do.
Each teacher provides their own qualifications and expertise for the students. This is a different skill to standing in front of a class handling a live class. You do not have discipline problems, and the students are in class because they want to learn. It is very exciting teaching and students can really get to know a teacher and improve by simply joining in the lesson which they do as they gain confidence.
The teacher has to have the knowledge and confidence to teach, and they can start teaching on the website. They bring their own students, and organize their own wage from the students.
If you wish to teach on ActiveEnglishSpeaking, simply join, and ask to be a teacher, and I will interview you.
It’s great for those who do not want to leave their homes, and can teach their own hours. You can run classes at 2am. Its a perfect time for someone in the world…and you advertise to find the students, and the site and I advertise too. You can make your own routine and your own Course and Class.
If you think you can teach and you wish to teach, you can teach.
Do you have any recommendations for someone interested in purchasing one of your courses?
Yes, start with one membership and use any or all the available courses. If you need another one, simply write to me and I will start it for you…as the teacher for I will find the teacher to run the course for you.
Its as easy as that…
You must want to learn, and if you wish to simply do the free lessons, you are invited to enroll as a free student and attend the free lessons.
It’s a very easy Course which promises that you will learn to speak English, and learn many other things as well. The best part is the interaction between students. You get to know the class members quite well, and you will also make some great friends around the world.
If you already speak English but wish to improve your reading and writing that will happen too as Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing are all inter-related in the Virtual lessons.
My recommendation is to simply join in on the free lessons, and if you wish more, then become a member, and do the other courses, or, request further paid lessons which range from $2-$5 for Group lessons to $20-$40 for private lessons.