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Using social networks to teach english
Scris de mihaiela lazar   
Sâmbătă, 08 Februarie 2014 20:26

USING SOCIAL NETWORKS TO TEACH ENGLISH

 

Prof. Dumitru Maria Magdalena

Liceul Tehnologic Constantin Brâncuși- Pitești

 

In 2007, the British Council led a research activity about how the internet affected students ‘preferences as regards their learning styles in studying English. The result of the research showed that teachers must be relevant and effective if they want to be part of the future learning process. And this is because the educational process will undoubtly include learning technologies in an attempt to help students interact with the world outside the classroom.

There are more factors that make social networks an effective tool in teaching English. Firstly it is a well known fact that everyone tends to find information more relevant when it comes from peers or family rather than when it comes from a teacher. Besides when students are not in a classroom but at home or somewhere else relaxed in front of the computer they are more open to ideas and suggestions.

Given these teachers should make sure that he uses group working giving students more fun activities which help them go out of the setting of the classroom. Teacher should be more of a facilitator rather than a knowledge provider.

Because of the enormous amount of information provided by the internet, students feel more disconnected and isolated in a classroom than they feel in front of a computer or a mobile phone. That is why they feel more and more often that school is no longer relevant to their lives and needs. When young people are on the Internet, they feel 'connected' to people and the world’s knowledge. In the classroom, they can feel 'disconnected' and 'isolated'. They sometimes feel that school isn’t particularly relevant to their lives. Therefore a teacher nowadays needs to take on the role of a trainer using learning technologies as often as he can, showing students how to access the information they need, and developing their networking skills to help them stay connected to the ”outside” world.

Students who have enough opportunities to socialize informally are more successful in language learning. It’s important to understand that successful students combine studying and socializing, and that combining the two things helps them to be successful at both. So what teachers can do is taking on the role of 'network administrator' rather than 'materials writer'. He needs to find out what social networking sites students like to use and show students what free learning opportunities are available through social networking sites.

The use of social networking is very popular among English language learners. It is one important tool that can assist teachers and learners to access information and facilitate learning. The most popular social networking is Facebook. Presently, Facebook is used as a social network to keep in touch and keep up with other people. Students use Facebook primarily for ‘social searching.’ That is, students use Facebook to learn more about a person they have met. It is also used for social and emotional support and as a resource to find information. There are many ways to use Facebook in education. Facebook can be used for collaborative learning. Moreover with Facebook students like to share, collaborate or work as a team, or students can critique on each other’s work and assignments with fairly easy access.

Another use is student writing assignments and written assignment correction. When correcting students ‘work teacher may focus on many types of mistakes like: the misuse of ‘who’ and ‘whom’. Also, there is misuse of vocabulary. For example, the misuse of ‘affect’ and ‘effect’; ‘bring’ and ‘take’; and ‘lie’ and ‘lay’. Additional mistakes include misspelled words.

But above all the use of Facebook is a social network and participants can learn and model from each other. Social learning theory emphasizes that learning happens within a ‘social context. People in society learn from each other, such as with concepts, observational learning, modeling, and imitation. With Facebook students get involved in a real-world situation with the aim to solve real problems. The teacher identifies a problem, does something to resolve it, measures how successful the efforts were, and tries again if unsatisfied.

Here are a few ways you can use to start engaging with your students on social media:

Create a Facebook page that your class can 'like'. Start posting updates to your timeline, but not in English. Ask your students to translate the text using Facebook's in-line Bing translation tool and ask them to gauge its accuracy

Create a Twitter account. Start tweeting in a foreign language, keeping in mind that you have a 140 character limit, and see if your students can strike up a conversation with you. Impose a non-English only reply and retweet rule.

Create a YouTube account. Ask each of your students to record a video blog of their hobbies, thoughts or opinions on topical news stories, but speaking only in a foreign language. Those who want to have their video uploaded should send it to you first.

Create a blog or Tumblr. Dedicate it entirely to publishing content in the language you teach. Show your students why you love the language and inspire them to do the same. Ask them to write something, however small, and post it for the whole world to admire.

 

Bibliography:

Kessler, S. (2010). The Case of Social Media in Schools. From http://www.mashable.com/2010/09/29/socia-media-in-school.

Mashable Social Media (2010). 3Ways Educators Are Embracing Social Technology. from http://www.mashable.com/2010/01/10/educators-social-technology

Online College.org (2011). Fifty Reasons to invite Facebook into your classroom.Retrieved from

http://www.onlinecollege.org/2011/07/18-50-reasons-to-invite-facebook-into-your-classroom

Ultima actualizare în Duminică, 09 Februarie 2014 21:17
 

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