Social media are increasingly becoming an integral part of our everyday lives. We spend more time on our phones, but this one is on most of the time unproductive activitieswho can take you seriously Toll on mental and physical well-being. But what if we could make this time productive? For example, spending time on social media can help you learn a foreign language.
How do Australians use social media?
In January 2021, almost 80% of Australians were “active users” of social media, up from 58% in 2015. Facebook remains the most popular social media platform. Others like TikTok and Instagram are gaining ground with younger audiences.
At the end of 2021, TikTok even overtook Google as the world’s most popular web domain. This isn’t just related to social media, it’s based on global internet traffic, which includes Google-hosted platforms like Gmail and Google Maps. In Australia, TikTok is the fastest growing social media company and was the second most downloaded app after Zoom in 2020.
TikTok’s success is largely due to the interactive and highly engaging nature of the audiovisual content that dominates the platform. users often scroll for hours have millions of followers through their feeds and popular channels.
This uptick in young users – visiting social media platforms”several times a day“ – headed the Australian school Teachers to turn to TikTok to connect with students, especially during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Social media as an educational platform
The role of social media as an emerging educational platform, especially for foreign languages, deserves more attention. Private language instead of face-to-face lessons Teachers have turned to platforms like TikTok and Instagram to attract and educate students.
Language teachers are capitalizing on the popularity and success of social media by creating content that helps their followers improve their language skills. This is mainly done through short, interactive videos. These are designed to deliver content in short chunks, an approach called “microlearning“.
Research shows that this is an effective tool for students and teachers alike. It breaks down the lessons for users to include as part of an “everyday scroll”. Content in this form is easier to digest (from the learner’s perspective) and more likely to be retained.
Students learning Mandarin can learn some helpful phrases for to go to the barber; French students can practice Distinction between two similar sounds; and Italy travelers can learn how to order your first espresso.
videos can offer general guide to foreign language learning or even – in a highly comprehensible way – illustrate Obstacles students may encounter in studying Mandarin.
The high functionality of the platforms allows teachers to use visual and audio cues. You can do the same on platforms like Instagram create quizzes or save content via Stories for students to access later.
It’s engaging, accessible and not just limited to language learning. Popular channels offer educational content on topics like cooking, learning to play the piano, or simple “life hacks.”
How many foreign languages can you learn?
Social media content isn’t going to take you from absolute beginner to native speaker in a matter of weeks. But a little exposure each day can have a significant effect.
If you’re a beginner, that means finding channels that aim to teach you the basics. Many channels on TikTok and Instagram are aimed at different levelsand integrate grammar, vocabulary, audio, and speaking videos to help you learn.
It’s important, however, to engage with “understandable input”—that is, language that you can understand, but that still challenges you.
More advanced users may benefit more from videos that explore slang, idioms, or improving their vocabulary.
Ultimately, every language learning path is different. How you use social media on this journey depends on your individual goals. And with more and more language teachers using social media platforms, there are plenty of channels and platforms to choose from.
Is it worth?
Just like changing the language on your phone to your target language or increasing the amount of music you listen to and movies you watch, social media offers another tool you can use to increase your daily exposure to your target language .
But the benefit of social media is ease of access. It’s probably something you already engage with on a daily basis and may even feel “addicted” to.