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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Top Six Facebook Teaching Tips

Six of the Best

Facebook is huge. Almost a billion people have accounts and many of them are very active. Not only that, and unlike Google, for example, people go to Facebook to stay on Facebook - the statistics are crazy.

So, the odds are a lot of your students have Facebook accounts and use them regularly. How then to exploit this? How to make use of this fabulously motivating resource and great opportunity to meet your students half-way between their English learning and their out-of-class activities and interests. Here are a few ideas... Feel free to add to them in the comments if you wish.

1) Wanna Be In My Gang?
Create a Facebook group and get all your students to join. Then give them class projects to do and post to the group so everyone can see them. Topics could include writing film reviews, sharing favourite You Tube videos, saying why they like them, and chatting about interesting or unusual Pages on Facebook itself.

2) Lies, Damn Lies and...
Get students to choose two or three of their favourite singers, film stars or sports stars and search for their Facebook pages. Set them a series of questions regarding number of 'Likes', average number of comments each post gets and how often the page owner posts in a typical week or month. Then get them to compare the different pages using comparatives and superlatives. A further exercise could be to take some of the English comments and translate them into their own language if the teacher is familiar with it. Posting their own comments in English would be another obvious option.

3) Battle of the Titans
Students prepare a presentation comparing Facebook and Twitter (and optionally Google+), looking at the strong points of each and finally summarising and concluding by saying which they personally prefer and why. A further activity could be their videoing their presentation, putting it on You Tube and then including it in a post to the group created in 1) above. Try Googling 'Facebook vs Twitter infographic' to get some useful data for this exercise.

4) Nine Out Of Ten Students...
Prepare a poll using the 'Ask Question' feature. The question can be anything from who their favourite pop stars are to a serious grammar, punctuation or spelling challenge. This allows students to think about the answer carefully, and also see what the others are answering too. I can't remember but you might be able to change your answer (i.e. your mind) as time goes on and you realise a mistake. The logical extension of this activity is for the students to create their own polls on topics given by the teacher or invented themselves. Fun for all the family.

5) Like Me, Love Me
Any of the thousands of on-line ELT resource sites worth their salt, Hotch Potch English included, now have their own Facebook pages. They generally provide regular links to free English exercises and items of interest so you could give the names of a few of the best ones to your students to encourage them to study and surf in English away from the more formal learning atmosphere of the classroom. Start with Fun English Lessons (my for-students page) and I'll give you a gold star for effort and another for enthusiasm!

6) Facebook Snakes & Ladders
Create a snakes and ladders type board game with squares relating to typical good and bad things which happen in the world of Facebook. Good things - to move you on a few squares - could include getting 10 'Likes', receiving a positive comment and choosing the correct answer in a Facebook grammar poll. Bad things - to move you back a few squares - might be Facebook taking ages to refresh, refusing a post for a bad word or naughty image or getting too much spam in your comments. This should be both fun and also recycling and practising common social media phrases and situations. And if the teacher is thought of as terribly cool for having invented it all, so much the better!

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© 2013 Sab Will / Hotch Potch EnglishWill Power English : "Top Six Facebook Teaching Tips"
Sab Will is a teacher, teacher trainer, fanatical blogger... and stuff.


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