Social media is usually frowned upon in the workplace – but not when you work for a language company! This past summer, LTC staff teamed up in a friendly competition to promote awareness of LTC’s social media platforms.
As I spent the summer learning more about Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter, I was struck by how truly relevant social media is to the Language Training Department. Not only can we boast about our accomplishments on social media, but we can also use the “taboo” internet sites and phone apps to recruit teachers and do what we do best – teach language.
At LTC, we teach language while following a communicative methodology. As defined by The TESL Journal, communicative learning is communication according to ability. Communicative classes at LTC help to teach our students what they need to know when they need to know it. Need to work on business English? You got it. Having trouble understanding your child’s teacher? We can help. Is Twitter troublesome? We have the perfect lesson plan.
In the 2014 PBS article entitled “Should teachers be using social media in the classroom?”, author Don Goble argues that that the 21st century learner needs to be ‘media literate,’ meaning that the 21st century learner needs to be able to analyze and communicate within the framework of popular books, magazines, advertisements, and popular social media sites. However, gaining media literacy becomes complicated when a student is communicating within the framework of a new culture and a new language. Using social media as a driver for a communicative language class, allows for a student to gain media literacy while gaining confidence in a new language.
Tips for a social media friendly classroom:
- Using social media does not have to mean socializing. Don’t spend class time showing the student how to post statuses on Facebook. Instead, pull up trending statuses from celebrities and break down the grammatical structure with the student.
- Even if a student has a handle on social media, create lesson plans that are inspired by social networks to keep the student engaged in class. For example, search recipes on Pinterest to discuss popular American foods and cooking vocabulary.
- If the student is timid or is not interested in traditional forms of social media, have your student pull out his smartphone and describe his Apps. Which one is his favorite? Which one is the most helpful for daily life? Talking about the apps on his phone will allow him to become more confident speaking about something that is essential to daily life – his phone. Before you know it, he’ll be leading the class!
-Kacy Rauschenberger, Language Training Coordinator