Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Facebook your students!...

I read, some time ago, in an article about Technology and Teaching, that teachers shouldn't ignore resources such as the social networks in their everyday classes, as they might be a magnificent tool to grab their students' attention! That paragraph made rethink a rule that I had established for my personal FB profile: do not accept students on my list of 'friends'. 'Why?', students often asked me, whenever I rejected their 'friendship' requests... 'Don't take it personal', I always told them!... 'It's just a rule that I have for my personal FB profile!...' 
As I didn't want to break that rule, but I had found the idea of using Facebook to allure students to the English language outside the classroom quite appealing, I decided to create another profile on the FB, exclusively for students!... Both present and former students!... Having set the rules for this new profile, and I quote: «This profile is meant for both my present and former students! Please do not spam this place with game applications' requests, as they won't be considered! Nor write any comments I feel are inappropriate, as they will be deleted!... Thank You!... Having said this, let's have some fun in ENGLISH!...», I therefore started accepting my students' requests, and I can assure you it's been worthwhile!... Not only because they have respected the rules, so far, but also because I have come across with 'long time no see' former students. In addition to that, most of the students use the English language to communicate with me, outside the classroom!... Those who don't feel so confident with their language skills, hit a 'like' in many of the posts, which is okay, nonetheless, as it means they have read it and enjoyed it... in English!...
I post cartoons, funny pictures, videos, commercials, visual inspirational statements, and redirect T@PT's posts to my wall, as a way of suggesting them a visit to my blog and thus have contact with lots of stuff in English which might be interesting for them!
I was once thrilled when a student of mine used the word 'resemble' in one of her comments on a cartoon about Titanic!... I had used that same word in class that morning, and they told me it was a new word for them... So, the fact that she used that new word properly, in a different context, made me realize that my major purpose was being accomplished: students are consolidating and improving their language skills in a very 'natural' and spontaneous way!... The screenshot below illustrates this situation. The other screenshot portrays a moment of fun between two girls of a 10th form class, discussing how much they are enjoying practising the British accent... 
These are just two examples of how Facebook can help you create a communicative environment outside and inside the classroom, as the next day we have our lesson, they want to talk about their comments and how funny they think a certain cartoon is and... 'You know, Teacher, that cartoon... ' Sometimes it takes a little time to start the lesson, or I might be interrupted because a certain idea we're discussing brigngs back something else published either on the FB page or on the blog... Well, I once read: 'Keep calm and pretend it's on the lesson plan!...' Our aim is to make them talk and think; not what to talk nor what to think!...




I told the students about my intention of writing a post about this topic and asked their consent for publishing these dialogues, which they gladly accepted!...

1 comment:

  1. Well done, Céu!

    I really believe that was a brilliant move! I receive lots of students' requests and I don't feel good rejecting them, but that is my rule too. Now you found a good way to engage students in your purpose without "breaking the rule" :)

    Congratulations!

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