Learning and Teaching English through Social Media


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Анотація. У статті розглянутий вплив використання соціальних мереж на вивчення та викладання англійської мови. Були проаналізовані окремі ресурси та види діяльності, які сприяють розвитку мовленнєвих навичок.

Ключові слова: соціальні мережі, викладання та вивчення англійської, розвиток мовленнєвих навичок.

Abstract. The article aims to evaluate the influence of the use of social media on English learning and teaching process. It analyzes particular resources and activities, which facilitate the development of language skills.

Keywords: social media, teaching and learning English, development of language skills.

Setting of the problem. In the times of globalization and rapid development of technologies, educators should keep up with all the recent innovations to keep their students motivated. One of the most powerful tools can be social media, which is a relatively new phenomenon in the sphere of education. The idea of the use of social media for educational purposes is rather controversial and requires further analysis and research. 

Materials. According to Seaman and Tinti-Kane, 41% of educators who took part in the survey use social media as a teaching tool. Also, 45% of respondents believe that social media and mobile technologies foster the learning process. Most frequently used means of social media include blogs and Wikipedia, podcasts, LinkedIn and Facebook. According to Li, such tools as Wikipedia, Blogs and Forums have been used for collaborative writing and practising writing skills. All the platforms can be used both for guided and independent practice. Another possible activity is peer-review which is a great opportunity to develop analytical skills and an ability to share and comment on the works of other students. Similarly, students can also use Twitter and Facebook for the same purposes. As Boghian states, social media is a powerful educational tool because it facilitates student-centered approach by creating an opportunity to express themselves and interact. 

Aims and objectives. The aim of the paper is to analyze the impact of social media on the English learning and studying process. Also, it’s objective is to distinguish the most appropriate resources and activities for the language learning and teaching process.

Results and discussion. According to my research, 77% of students use social media for educational purposes and 90% of them evaluate the influence of social media on studies as rather positive. The most widely used means of social media which are used by the participants of the survey include YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Some of the students expressed the idea that what determines whether the influence is negative or positive is the purpose of the use of social media. Therefore, the means of social media are powerful tools to learn the language in an interactive way provided that it is used for educational purposes. According to my research,100% of students believe that the use of means of social media (like YouTube videos including Tedtalks, cartoons and workout tutorials) make lessons more engaging. 80% of students believe that watching videos on YouTube can help to develop language skills – especially listening comprehension and enrich vocabulary while others simply find it as an entertaining activity. 

It is also important to mention that the development of technologies and social media makes education more accessible. A wide range of online resources facilitates student autonomy and makes students proactive. According to my research, 77% of students use social media for self-study purposes.

Students can use messengers such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Viber to communicate with peers, practice speaking and develop communication skills. There are also some platforms which promote intercultural communication and cultural diversity such as IDialogue and Interpals. With the help of similar websites, learners can practice foreign languages with native speakers and teach their native language. This is a great benefit since it encourages informal and proactive learning and develops language skills – usually not only speaking and writing skills but also enriches vocabulary and facilitates the practice of grammar. Provided that the learners communicate with native speakers, they are also immersed in the culture of the target language. 

One of the most important aspects of the use of social media is an opportunity to use authentic materials for educational purposes. Content created by native speakers is easily available and many teachers have already incorporated it as study materials for the lessons. This is a good tool to get used to accents and slang.

One more benefit of social media is the opportunity to share the study materials faster and easier. Also, they can also be used to submit the tasks and grade them.

Conclusion. Having analyzed all the data, I can make a conclusion that in the 21st-century social media is a powerful tool to teach and learn foreign languages for the following reasons: according to the feedback of students, the use of videos makes lessons more engaging and interactive; it is a great resource of authentic materials; it makes students proactive and facilitates student autonomy; it is a great platform to develop language skills.

Works cited

  1. Seaman, J., & Tinti-Kane, H. (2013). Social media for teaching and learning. Retrieved from http://200.3.145.35/rid=1N90YDCQV-W1Y0T6-2743/social-media-for-teaching-and-learning-2013-report.pdf
  2. Li, V. (2017). Social Media in English Language Teaching and Learning. International Journal of Learning and Teaching. 3. 148-153. 10.18178/ijlt.3.2.148-153.
  3. Boghian, Ioana. (2013). The Use of Social Networking Sites in Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

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