February 12th

The use of social Medias by teachers – Facebook

Facebook can be a very useful pedagogical tool for ESL teachers and teachers in general. One of the most significant advantage to use Facebook as a teacher is the increase of engagement from students. Studies have shown that the use of Facebook in classrooms encourages students to participate and that the use of Facebook can give them the sens of belonging to a group. This membership feeling is motivating for students. Also there is a relational aspect of using Facebook in classrooms. The casual interaction outside the classroom context has a positive influence on how students perceive their teacher.

Another advantage of using Facebook, specifically for ESL teachers, is that this platform is a perfect way to get in contact with native speakers of the target language. There are open groups like: The English Community or the Club Español de Québec (for Spanish teachers) where it is easy to have access to native speakers of any languages.

It is important to know that using Facebook in education can have positive points, like mentioned above, but also negative ones. While using social Medias in a classroom, teachers have to be aware of the consequences it can have if they are not fully informed of how to properly use it.

After doing some reading on the subject, I will now suggest what to do ,and of course, what not to do while using Facebook as a pedagogical tool.

The first advice I’d like to give to teachers and future teachers on how to use Facebook is to decide of a line, a limit, which you will respect. In my opinion, teachers should not use their personal Facebook page for educational purposes. If you want to use Facebook as a school platform, put resources on it or sent messages to your students via messenger, I believe the best way to do it is to create a “school profile” or “class private group” that has absolutely no link with your personal profile. Doing so, you keep your personal information inaccessible for students to read or see.

The second advice I’d like to give to teachers and future teachers is: do not add your students as friends in your personal account. Even if those students are now out of school. If you want to keep in touch with you former students, there is plenty of way to do so without using Facebook. And this applies to student’s parents too.

Having students or parents of students have access to your personal account can lead to some disastrous consequences if you don’t closely watch what you put on your Facebook. There have been many cases where teachers have been laid off for status, photos or videos posted on their personal account. Even though students and parents don’t have access to your profile, remember that you are a professional working in the public area. Things can be wrongly understood and lead to your boss firing you because of that. Something you might find “appropriate on Facebook” might not seem appropriate for your employer.

Only one little angry stream of your thoughts put on Facebook can ruin your career.

My third advice is to, please, use your judgment. You have a brain, USE IT!

You should ABSOLUTELY NOT write anything on your students, their parents, or your classroom on your personal profile. Anything that is linked the following subjects should also not be discussed on your Facebook profile if you are, or will be, a teacher. These subjects can lead to misunderstanding from the reader or “un politically correct” statements made out of anger or sadness from you.

  • Religion/ religious issues
  • Racial issues
  • Sexual orientation/ LGTB issues
  • Political opinions/ issues

If you still want to be friend with your students, here are some tips on how to do it safely as possible.

Anne-Marie Garneau-Beaudoin

Future ESL teacher


February 5th

The use of interactive board in ESL classrooms

Technology used in classrooms increase every year. A type of technology that is more and more present at every level of education is interactive white board. I’d like to share my findings and opinions about that.

As a future second language teacher, I have to ask myself if I should use this technology or not. In my opinion, every teacher that has access to this type of tool MUST take advantage of it.

First of all, interactive boards are equipped to make teaching easier and faster, and they can adapt to most of the teaching disciplines, from English to Chemistry.

Second of all, it does not only make life easier for teachers, but it also benefits a lot to the students. Dr Mary Ann Bell, in her article, explains that the overall concept of an interactive board is very appealing for the younger generation of students, from kindergarten to advanced studies. I could not agree more with her. Because they are born in an era of technology, it captivates them way more than a simple Power Point that teachers show sit at their desk. The interactive board is a tool that teachers use standing up, moving around the screen and gesticulating. Students follow what the teacher says and does much more than when they are listening to a traditional lecture. Younger children (as well as older ones) have fun doing activities on interactive boards.

I will explain some functions of the interactive boards in regards to the pedagogical aspect. I will focus on the Smart board, since its the one I used the most.

First, time management. There is a chronometer that you can put on your slides and use as you wish. Is is not only useful the teachers to manage their time, but also for students who have to complete a task in a given period of time. Having a chronometer on the board that rings when the time is up helps them manage their time and grabs their attention at the end of the task without the teacher having to say anything.

Second, as an ESL teacher, the Smart board has multiple tools that give dynamic to vocabulary learning of a second language.  One I find very interesting and fun is The Morning Calender. This tool is an interactive and colorful way of teaching vocabulary about basic calendar information,  weather, attendance, as well as number words and shape recognition.

Interactive boards are fantastic in classrooms, but, on the other hand, it all sounds like fun and games until you have to master the thing. Different brands of interactive boards can be simpler than others, but they can also be difficult to master for teachers. If teachers want to be efficient and competent whit interactive boards, they need practice. From my personal experience whit the Activboard and the Smart board, mastering the basics is easy, but more complex or advanced options may need hours to fully master. While doing an activity with your students, using interactive boards, teachers have to know what they are doing. This way, it goes fast and smoothly.

This is an example among others of what insufficient training can lead to.

I had a teacher in college that, at the beginning of the year, changed our local so that he could have access to an interactive board. We were all excited about discovering this new technology until he started using it. Most of the time he used it, it was a disaster. It was long and painful to watch as a student. Many times it took 15 minutes only to access the activity he wanted to correct. Or, in the middle of the correction, he changed pages and the answers he was writing were now somewhere else, lost in space.

This anecdote is an advice to anyone who wants to use this technology in classrooms. Please, practice, practice, practice, and test your material before the beginning of the class! You will avoid losing precious time and avoid laborious attempts in fixing your mistakes.

This small article, written by Professor Ashley Yarbrough, resumes in a clear way the general advantages and disadvantages of interactive white boards.

Anne-Marie Garneau-Beaudoin

Future ESL teacher