Much About Facebooking
Hey folks, as you know that we are teaching 21st century learners, we tend to find almost everyone having an account in facebook or whatsapp account. Though I teach rural area students in Maharashtra state, India the students love to message me over the school hours on whatsapp and facebook. I love responding them because I ask them to chat in English with me. That’s where I find my students using English informally to express and I do help them express too. I don’t get surprised when they post their profile pics, their gifts, new dresses, any new food item, etc. All these postings I believe is to count the number of likes and comments they receive. On a lighter note, would you agree with me if I say students may remain absent in the classes but never on the facebook or whatsapp?
Well, seriously why not bring the facebook in the classroom? This idea sprang up when I was in a meeting with other state level subject experts at SCERT, Pune, Maharashtra when we were designing activities for the classroom teaching and learning. The idea took shape when I discussed it in detail with Pundalik Kaviraj from Allapalli, Smita Pore from Satara and Nadeem Khan from Bhandara. We discussed over making it a possibility to bring it into practice.
I brought facebook in my class with the following objectives:
- Develop thinking skills
- Use ‘Wh’ questions
- Practice assertive sentence
- Use adjectives
Following is how I did it in my 9th standard class:
- Announced that everyone in the class should bring one special thing to the class next day, be it anything. Anything that they would post on facebook. I reminded their postings on facebook and gave some examples.
- Excited, students came up with their ‘special things’ the next day. Some were so excited that they showcased right from the first period although my class was just before the lunch break.
- The activity began with the set of instructions.
- Asked them to have two pages.
- On one page, I asked them to write a short description but leave a question at the end of the description. The question could be: where do you think I got this? Why do you think it is special for me? Any idea about its cost? Any guess who gifted me this? Guess on what occasion I got this. etc
(I provided language support of ‘Wh’ question structure and assertive sentence at this stage on the board quickly.)
- On another page they I asked them to make two columns: A short one titled ‘Likes’ and the larger one titled ‘Comments’
- Instructed them to leave those two pages along with the post that they wanted to showcase.
- Then I allowed them to go around the class and look at the posts. Instructed them to put ‘a tick’ mark under the ‘Likes’ column if they like it and if they wanted to comment then answer the question asked by the owner of the post. (Here I intended to allow them to ‘think’ over the question and comment the answer)
- One should write comments for at least 5 posts while they were free to like all the posts or none.
- The time limit given was 10 minutes.
- I monitored the activity and noted that students were mostly commenting ‘Nice’, ‘Beautiful’, ‘Like it’, (Perhaps they considered reading a boring activity must against the excitement of looking at the posts and commenting straightaway or perhaps due to the time limit). I had to remind them to answer the questions.
- After 10 minutes, learners were excited to look at their post (Those who got the highest likes and comments were smiling throughout). I asked them to see if any comment answered their question. Most of them had done it.
I took this opportunity to highlight that the number of likes and comments are just the numbers. The objective of facebooking is ‘sharing’.
I was amazed at the things the students had brought. They had showcased wrist watch, a toy dog, little brother’s photo, a book that inspired the student, wall piece, showpiece, key chain with cute baby doll, biscuits, cake, etc. It was simply fabulous to look at all these amazing things. By the way, did I mention that I too put up likes and commented on the posts? The students loved reading my comments too! They loved watching me involved in it.
- Learning can be blended with social media.
- Some needed more briefing about facebooking as they didn’t have exposure to internet.
- Next time I will reserve more time for drilling language support.
- Students need briefing about netiquette. I say so as one of the students had commented ‘I don’t like this post. I don’t like you.’ This was to the post of ‘kurkure’ (perhaps he wanted to point out the ill-effects of fast food). It was an opportunity for me to highlight that though the post is from personal profile, the freedom of expression stays restricted since it is a social platform.
Overall, it was a fantastic experience. Do comment on how else I can make it better.