HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA IN THE EFL CLASSROOM

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Blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, podcasts, YouTube, Pinterest, StumbleUpon … there are many ways social media is involved in our and our students’ daily lives. It’s no secret that our students spend a lot of time on social media and if teachers don’t realise it can be used in the classroom, this can be a wasted learning opportunity.

If you are one of those teachers who does not take advantage of social media in our classrooms, here are a few tips on how to do it:

Blogs

Gap reading

Devise reading tasks on a few different blogs. Allow your students time to read their assigned blog and complete the tasks to ensure comprehension. Rearrange the students into groups so that each student in the group has read a different blog. The students then report back to the other students on what they have read and decide if they would be interested in following that particular blog.

Start a class blog

Set up a blog for the class. Each week a different student can contribute a blog post on a topic of their choice. Allow time during class for the other students to read the blog and post comments. If you make the blog public (with your students’ permission) you can post the blog posts to appropriate Facebook groups and possibly reach other English language learners.

Twitter

Predict the story

Choose a few tweets from an appropriate news site referring to a current event. Show your students these tweets. In groups they must try to predict the remaining details of the story. Once you have discussed their ideas, you can tell them the real story behind the tweet. This is a great warmer to talk about current events.

Facebook

Class group

Create a class group. Decide what the aim of the group is – for example, to practise specific language structures, as a resource for materials, for language questions, to discuss certain topics or to chat about social outings. Because our students are so active on social media, this provides them with a safe space to practise their language online.

A word of warning

It is impossible to supervise every move your students make on social media. If you are working with younger students, you need to make them aware of the dangers of social media. Remind them not to share personal information online with anyone and encourage them to stick to the activity in question. If you make use of these social media activities in the classroom, try to monitor your students’ activity to make sure they are staying on-task and are not being distracted by other online sites. 

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