Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Six Months with Engoo

Engoo (engoo.com) is a very big online English school from Japan. I think that the number of teachers there is about 1000, and probably the number of students is much more. This school worked in the low price segment of market online schools. When I bought my subscription for 6 months the price of one 25 minute ticket was $1.80. They have recently changed their study plans and the current price is more than $4.00 for the same length of class time.

Technical information: The school uses Skype for video calls. We can book a class not later than 15 minutes before the class. The teacher calls the student when the time comes for the class to start. It is mandatory for teachers to turn their video camera on. The student needs to choose the activity when booking the class. It could be a free conversation or class material from the site of the school or other resources. I found the most beneficial and interesting one to be The Daily News option.

The Daily News are prepared on the base of VOA English material (Voice of America). The topics are divided on levels of difficulty of English. When I choose the topic, I applied the filter for the advanced level of English. The topics are really interesting---they include modern vocabulary, and the new articles appear every day.

The Daily News section of the class material is a very important advantage of Engoo. It includes a few parts:

The first part is vocabulary---a few words with explanations and examples of usage. It is possible to hear the pronunciation of these words on the site.

The second part is the text.

Next - 3 or 5 questions for testing comprehension, quite simple. 

I asked the teachers about what kind of classes are the most popular with students and the answer was: The Daily News and free conversation.

Free conversation is good and it could be even more captivating than structured classes. The success of this type of lesson is based on abilities of the teacher to manage the class. It is also important that the teacher has a good level of positive energy and for the students to be willing to participate actively in the session.

When I started studying English with Engoo I was impressed by the number of the teachers there from very different countries. I booked sessions with a trainer from each new country and asked the teacher to tell me about his (her) country. Through the screen sharing option of Skype, using Google Maps, I was able to share pictures and panoramic views from my location and also from theirs. After the class, I prepared the article with a name like "Talking about France," and published it on my blog accompanying it with the pictures from the Internet. This was a great experience and gave me the feeling of being present in the places we discussed. But after a few classes, I switched the topic to The Daily News. The main reason was that some of the teachers were not always ready to manage the conversation. Sometimes it happened that the role of the leader of the discussion fell to me. Sometimes when my questions about the tourist attractions, culture, and traditions of the country were over - an awkward silence hung in the air.

The possibility of booking a class 15 minutes in advance is a very important advantage of the school. There are options to mark teachers a favorite and to leave a comment after the class. At the beginning of 2017 the school divided study plans into two parts:
- practicing with native and
- non-native teachers.

The price for native plans is much higher than for a plan with non-native trainers. I used only the second - more affordable study plan.

I was very satisfied with the quality of the teachers in Engoo. I left many positive comments almost for all classes. Here are a few examples of some teachers:

Michael from Greece:
During the class, we read an article about the US as a top destination for Chinese emigration. I told him about my experience of visiting Chinatown in New York. We discussed the reasons for emigration.

Nelson from Nigeria:
During the class, we read an article about banned books week in the US and discussed it.

Dijana from Bosnia and Herzegovina:
During the class, we explored Sankt Petersburg using the screen sharing option of Skype and panoramic views.

David from Jamaica:
We had a fabulous class during which we had a virtual trip to Jamaica (using the screen-sharing option of Skype).

Royaltyunen from Benin:
We had a great conversation about the regulation of the Internet and about possibilities of using the Virtual World Secondlife.com for practicing foreign languages.

Ana from Macedonia:
We had a free conversation about hobbies: studying English and Chinese, traveling to the USA and blogging.

Sia from the Dominican Republic:
We read an article on how to brighten the mood with a rainbow of food. After that we discussed it.

Bandz from Zimbabwe:
Bandz helped me to correct my essay on the story "The face on the wall" by E. V. Lucas and it was published on my blog after the session.

Ingrid from El Salvador:
We talked about strange things banned in Tajikistan such as a public celebration of New Year etc.

Bernadetta from Hungary:
We had an interesting conversation about jet lag and ways of how to lower effect of it for our health.

Jan from the Netherlands lives in Peru:
The main topic of the class was science (we talked about artificial life). We also discussed life in Netherlands, Peru, and Russia.

Tatiana from Colombia:
We discussed the Daily News article "Amazon.com Opens Its Own Rainforest in Seattle" and expressed our opinions about this extravagant move of the Internet's giant.

Mirrie from Zambia:
We talked about current snowfall in Moscow. I showed the pictures which were taken by me this day.

Elena from Serbia:
We discussed the short story “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner.

Wilson from Angola lives in South Africa:
We discussed an article from The Daily News about some issues which Uber faced.

Every teacher presents his (or her) unique teaching style. It is extremely interesting to hear the opinions about current events, history, literature and so on from people who live in different countries. Many learners find that studying foreign languages is their window into another culture. Here we have a great opportunity to ask our tutors about their lives and their countries. The more curious we are, the more we will learn.

I nearly forgot to mention, Engoo offers two free classes for each new student. I would recommend people who are interested in studying English online to try this option. This is the link:

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