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Facebook can help pupils pass English

Discussion in 'English' started by gailrobinson, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. According to a report in this week's TES, teaching pupils to use websites such as Facebook and Twitter can help pupils focus on their work and pass their English language GCSEs.
    Do you think social media can motivate pupils? Read the full story below
    Facebook can help pupils pass English
  2. fishtail

    fishtail New commenter

    I think that creative teaching can motivate pupils. You can do it through facebook or otherwise. I would be wary of trying to get 'down with the kids' for the sake of it...
  3. You get a halo effect. Someone invents a new method, like teaching English through Facebook. That person is by definition a creative teacher, he is also likely to be very dedicated, probably very able, and therefore charismatic. Children respond to that by liking his lessons and working hard for him, and so the method works, in his hands. As soon as everyone else starts using it, however, the shine wears off, and the weaknesses become apparent.
  4. Hmm, interesting point, but perhaps a little cynical. I think you're partly right about this kind of thing being associated with hip young gunslingers, but there's also a growing body of research to suggest that young people who use social networking sites and text a lot show marked improvements in their literacy skills.
  5. Have just come across this link. I think you are correct merkatron. I can remember my university tutor berating me for the way I rambled on. She said that her writing skills had been honed whilst away at boarding school and her parents lived abroad. She had to learn to be concise, informative and interesting on very small airmail paper. Facebook is in a way teaching pupils the skills of communication. I would have thought it should be encouraged (obviously monitored) as it is a modern form of letter writing. Much better than texting. good idea by the teacher who came up with that one. who knows it may even be set in an exam one day.
  6. "To ignore social media will lead to pupils suffering." This statement epitomises for me the unhealthy nature of the discussion about how best to make use of social media in schools: it's emotive, biased and without any evidential support, and by implication accuses those who remain sceptical of intentionally damaging children.

    The article as a whole is a bit of a mess: it opens with a claim about a tiny cohort of students who may or may not have raised their attainment by less than a grade; it goes on to make some nonsensical claims that "If you look at the job market, the only ones that there is really a demand for is digital and social media" (sic), which is specious at best, and downright misleading at worst; and concludes with some generalised remarks about using social media safely and responsibly. None of the points is properly supported with evidence, yet those of us who do not teach coursework by text are 'damaging' children.

    I find the whole discussion of social media in UK teaching frankly infantile. It belittles the children in the way it assumes they cannot cope with anything other than screens and "Like" buttons, and it betrays a pathetic, needy streak in the teachers who are desperate to 'engage' their students.
  7. thequillguy

    thequillguy New commenter

    While I passionately believe that social media will not only be a tool that all teachers will eventually use, teaching students to be literate about its use is something that I don't think many teachers (including me!) have a handle on.For now I hope that our healthy cynicism (yet willingness to discuss) will find ways to use it aptly.

    The article seems to focus on the motivating aspects of using social media. I think that perhaps the ways that we can be literate in a more collaborative way by using social networking are something that students could begin to use.

    One memory of a successful homework used http://www.myfakewall.com . It didn't require the teacher to have any ICT skills, but instead students to create their own FB profile for a literary character. Some were indifferent, some couldn't use it, but many (70%) of the class (particularly the girls...) created some unbelievably detailed and perceptive facebook profiles of the Austen characters.

    Perhaps the best judge of how the ICT is being used here is to see whether it could be done without the ICT. If you printed a FB template, the pupils could complete the same thing by hand. And while hardcopy FB profiles could be put onto acetate, the digital versions would be easier to share. I think in the case, the ICT is encouraging students to recreate (and refine) their understanding and perception of literary characters exist and interact. I should really post some examples to show what I'm banging on about: http://www.myfakewall.com/w/Cinderella_2

    BTW, the boys in my Yr8 tutor group almost universally dislike FB, and instead prefer shooting games like Call of Duty to do their social networking on. Almost all of them, plus my colleague's kids, are on that game every night, even if it's just at the lobby screen so they can natter away whilst doing whatever it is that they're doing. The companies are catching our youth by making them pester their parents to pay £40 so they can network with their pals. Again, something that maybe requires English teachers to facilitate children to be culturally critical of such things...


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