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Conversation lesson : Is Social Media redefining identity?

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I got really excited and a bit carried away preparing this lesson, I must admit. As a heavy user of social media, I thought it would be an interesting topic to discuss – even though there are lots of lesson plans out there. But I thought I could make something more creative.

In this lesson students discuss the uses of social media by tackling three social media giants : Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Whether you love it or loathe it, it’s a divisive issue. In this sense, the lesson is conversation-driven. Because social media is already something most students like and care about, they relish the opportunity to learn with it.

The main topic entails the redefining of identification of self through social media: Is social media addictive? harmful? just another way of communicating? My aim is to develop students’ critical thinking skills by asking questions that elicit understanding with reason and evidence. Students will be given time to think and be encouraged to debate productively. Most activities from this lesson are supposed to be done in pairs or groups so that each student can debate their assumptions and see the topic from a different perspective.

What’s more? There is also the element of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the lesson, where, counterintuitively, students are encouraged to use their phones as part of one activity. Reflective thinking is promoted throughout the entire lesson as students are required to predict, speculate, express opinions, compare, contrast and infer information.

Another important element of the lesson is humour. According to Krashen Affective Filter Hypothesis (1986) students’ feeling of anxiety builds up an affective filter, a mental block which makes the individual generally unreceptive to language input. All three activities (the text about Facebook, the Twitter graphic and the Instagram video) feature humorous and sarcastic language, thereby reducing students’ anxiety and making them  more likely to participate in and become engaged with the topic.

I believe the success of the lesson relies upon the teacher’s ability to manage the conversation  and attend to emergent language in the class.

Thanks for reading.

Downloads : Social Media worksheet and LP outline – Social Media

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