Have you ever felt tired with your students checking their mobiles and Facebook updates in the classroom? Maybe you’re annoyed with their “I was just checking the word in the dictionary” when you perfectly well know they’re simply messaging their Facebook friends? Well, what can I say: if you can’t fight’em, join’em!
Naturally, I don’t encourage any teacher to ignore the students and focus on their own mobile during the lesson (though, sometimes, it may be a good tool, pretty much like pretending to be bored or annoyed with their whining). I’ve been using Facebook in my teaching style and here are some ideas I’d like to share.
I love Facebook reminding me of new stuff the British Council publish on their wall (they have so many sweet profiles – for teachers, young adults, teenagers and people into English Premier League). There’s something new and inspiring every day, well, but since most of you found me via BC’s Facebook page, you probably know this. There are many sites you can use to get an easy access to materials, ideas, new friends and tutors.
IATEFL – a group for EFL teachers focused mostly on conferences, meetings and basically CPD. Highly recommended if you’re into this kind of thing (there’s going to be the big conference soon, with most presentations streamed for everyone to see, lovely thing).
I find this communicator the best way to get to my students and vice versa: I often receive messages like “I’m sorry, I’ll be late”, “Forgot my books, which pages should I copy?” or “Could you give me some additional exercises on…”. The key is to set your profile so that everyone can message you without adding you as a Facebook friend.
I’m pretty much into blended learning, so I usually experiment on my groups. With the group I share a flex model course at my language school I decided to try using a closed group on Facebook. At first I was sharing materials, presentations etc., but now my students share their ideas, photos, experiences not always connected with English, but always in English. I do realise such activities depend on the group, but I recommend giving it a go.
Having your own blog or website is a nice idea anyway, but linking them with your Facebook profile makes more people notice you and opens more possibility for discussions and cooperation. I’m planning to make my blog’s fanpage soon enough because on your page you can share things difficult to put up as a blog post – popculture news, posts of fellow teachers, some song, TED presentations and, last but not least, cats 🙂
Truth be told, once you get into using Facebook in your teaching/learning process it is difficult to leave it – there are so many options, ideas and possibilities you could literally spend days browsing, learning, discussing and chatting. So my advice is: give it a go, but watch out as it’s a real time-consuming monster – our students know something about it!