Thursday, July 30, 2015

Social Media for English Learning

Traditional foreign language learning mainly includes repeating grammar rules and vocabulary writing exercises. Engagement with native speakers and conversations on real-world topics are not so common. Today, however, language learning is a much more dynamic and practical process. Thanks to social media, people seeking contact with native speakers of other languages have it easy. Instead of having to spend thousands of dollars in immersion programs in another country, you can simply sign on to your social media account of choice and start learning for free.

Sites like Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and others offer language learners entertaining and interactive experiences with native speakers. Im an absolutely social media dummy - but with my kids around, Im becoming better and better...the below tools may help you in one way or another :)

Facebook & Twitter
There are hundreds of Facebook pages and groups as well as Twitter accounts that are dedicated to foreign language learning. Some include videos, music, cartoons or daily grammar and vocabulary lessons. To join a page or follow an account, type in the language you want to learn. Ex: Learn Spanish. Several pages and accounts will pop up. Click 'Like' or 'Follow' button and you'll start receiving their posts in your Facebook or Twitter feed.

The benefit: Some of these pages are written by language teachers. You'll gain access to their lessons without having to pay fees, buy books or language software or schedule lessons.

You can also friend or follow people who speak the language you're trying to learn. You'll have an access to their posts and comments which will help enrich your vocabulary and grammar skills. You could also arrange a language exchange with them. Ex: your new Facebook friend or Twitter follower will help you learn to speak Portuguese if you help him to speak English.

The benefit: This is the practical side of language learning. You'll get exposure to real-world conversations and discussions. Here's where you'll also learn more about the culture, values and idiomatic phrases.

Another way to practice a foreign language is to change your Facebook and/or Twitter account to another language setting:

Click on Settings

Open the Account page

Click on the Language menu

Change it to the language you wish to learn

Click on Save changes

The benefit: Those who use these accounts frequently (and who doesn't?) will be constantly immersed in the new language.

Pinterest also provides a way to learn foreign languages. I typed in "Learn Russian” in their search box and a page with hundreds of pins popped up with vocabulary lessons and photos and pictures. Follow the pins that interest you.

The benefit: Those of you who've used Pinterest before know how addictive this site is. Which is exactly why it's a great tool for language learning. You won't want to stop!

YouTube is a goldmine for language learning. Get access to thousands of videos in different languages. From the serious to the hilarious, you'll find videos that match your learning style. You'll also have access to films and music in the language you want to learn, sometimes with subtitles.

The benefit: YouTube will provide you audio-visual language lessons which will help you listen and speak. These are very practical language skills that you won't get from reading and writing.

Blogs and Wikis
You can also check out sites like and Wikimedia, blogs & wikis dedicated to language learning. Many teachers and organizations collaborate to mount these sites to use in their classrooms.

The benefit: Though not as interactive as some other sites, you'll still be granted access to free and educational language sites. What more could you want?

Then there are sites that are specifically dedicated to language learning like Livemocha which links native speakers with those wishing to learn that language. You can sign up for free and interact with people who are there specifically for language exchange.

The benefit: Access to native speakers interested in teaching you. Live chat, audio lessons and grammar exercises.

Social media makes it easier than ever to learn a foreign language without having to leave home. These sites are free to anyone. Learning languages through social media is more dynamic and practical than traditional learning methods. Make good use of the social networks you already use and start learning a new language today.

No comments:

Post a Comment