How to Use Social Media to Learn a Language
There are many online tools designed to help in learning a language. But, did you know that social media can be a powerful tool too? Here's how to use it to develop your children’s language skills.
By Rachel Summers
There are all kinds of ways by which social media can be used as a learning tool. Teachers have been seeing just how it can be used to engage students, and in particular, bring them into a new language. As parents, you can turn your child’s interest in social media to good advantage, and help him use it to develop his linguistic abilities.
Harnessing social media as a learning tool
Social media has multiple platforms which can be used in a variety of ways to teach a new language.
Platforms like Facebook allow for groups to be formed for any interest you can imagine. Facebook in particular has been shown to be a very helpful tool in learning a language. You can find groups of learners of the language your child is trying to master. Or, set one up yourself. This will help your child practise her communication skills and also get in touch with people with similar interests from all around the world.
If your child is more of a visual learner, then it’s better to expose him to more visual learning tools. Instagram, Pinterest and other image-based social media platforms are great for visual-based learning materials. For example, you could set up a flash card on your account every day, providing a child who follows that account a regular learning tool.
Blogs too can be another great way to provide everyday learning. Sites like Tumblr are very effective for this, as a language blog can be inserted into your regular feed. There are also dedicated language blogs such as https://www.fluentin3months.com/ that you can follow and get tips on how to help your child gain proficiency in a language.
Advantages of social media as a learning tool
Here are just a few of the benefits of using social media to help your child pick up language skills:
- It’s already a part of daily routine: The use of social media is widespread. Even if your child does not use it, you yourself are sure to be visiting various sites multiple times a day. So just include a language-learning element in your time on social media, and incorporate the information you pick up in your everyday routine with your child. • It’s fast: Many children resist learning a new language, saying they don't have time for it. However, if social media is used as a tool, it not only makes learning attractive to the child, but the learning can be achieved in small ‘bites’ by spending just a few minutes every day on it. Over a long period, that learning will add up.
- It opens the door to talk: The joy of social media is that it can connect you with people all over the world. Your child can use social media to talk to people whose native language is the one she is trying to learn, and this will help her converse in that language.
Practical ways to use social media to improve language skills
Social media can be used in various ways to hone your child’s proficiency in a language. Here are a few ideas:
- Write more: Encourage your child to write in the language he is learning. This is especially beneficial if he can write to a native speaker of the language. There are various online tools that will help guide a new learner, and you can guide your child to the ones that deal with the language of your choice.
- Read more: Reading is a great way to imbibe grammar, idiom and vocabulary. And blogs are a great way to read interesting things in a specific language. Get your child to follow a few useful blogs in the desired language in an RSS reader. They'll show up whenever they update, and the child can learn a little more every time she reads them.
- Update more: Seeing updates on a feed is thrilling for a child. If your child is part of a language learning group, help him create updates in that language. Seeing those updates in their feed will expose children to the language of choice on a regular basis, and help them get used to it.
As you can see, there are a lot of ways you can help your child to learn a language through social media. Once you establish a daily routine of using it for this specific purpose, your child will pick up the chosen language before you know it.
Rachel Summers, a British journalist and writer, has worked in the field of education, tutoring students who need extra assistance with their studies. Her blog can be accessed at http://writingpopulist.com/
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