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.
Future ESL teacher