Videoconferencing tools, like Skype, etc., are being increasingly used in language education worldwide. Despite assumed socio-affective and pedagogical benefits of using webcams in synchronous online language lessons, such as the feeling of co-presence or the possibilities of non-verbal communication, little is known about attitudes held by experienced online teachers towards webcams and their actual use of this tool during private online language lessons. This study interviews 20 experienced online language tutors and 20 adult students about their attitudes towards webcams and their use of webcams. The findings suggest that most teachers and students only used webcams at the start of their lessons for socio-affective reasons and discontinued the use of webcams after the first 2–3 weeks. Some common reasons for reducing the use of webcams were the perception of ‘webcamming’ as a more tiring mode, the feeling of self-consciousness and privacy concerns. The study calls for more research on the use of webcams, webcam-specific semio-pedagogical skills and suggests directions of future studies.
- teachers and students' attitudes
- pedagogy of online lessons