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Integrating Social Media into EFL Lessons: Enhancing Communication Skills and Presenting Language in Natural Use Situations

Integrating Social Media into EFL Lessons: Enhancing Communication Skills and Presenting Language in Natural Use Situations

Social media algorithms are specifically designed to present users with appealing and engaging content. This addictive nature also provides an opportunity to educate students on how to effectively manage these algorithms by curating content that will help students in their English learning journey.

We often refer to young people as digital natives, familiar with social media and immersed in technology to manage their academic and personal lives. Regardless of your thoughts on the influence of technology, it is here to stay and presents numerous opportunities to engage and motivate learners. Here are a few ways to hack students’ social media profiles to turn them into language learning resources.

Algorithm hacks to turn your students’ feeds into language classrooms

Curate students’ feeds

The first hack is to curate content that is not only educational but also aligned with the interests and preferences of students. By understanding their own likes, dislikes, and online habits, students can tailor the language learning experience to their individual needs. Whether it's following English-language accounts related to their favourite hobbies or subscribing to channels that share educational content in an entertaining way, we can ensure that the content they consume on social media is both enjoyable and educational. Their feeds will also demonstrate authentic language use, providing a wealth of user-generated content that reflects real-life conversations, expressions, and cultural nuances. By encouraging students to explore and interact with these platforms, they can observe how native speakers communicate organically.

Here are a few accounts to follow:


@humansofny: Humans of New York shares captivating stories and interviews with people from diverse backgrounds, providing insights into real-life conversations in English.

@voguemagazine: Vogue Magazine's Instagram account showcases fashion, lifestyle, and culture through engaging captions and visuals, providing exposure to English used in popular culture.

@natgeo: National Geographic's Instagram account features stunning photos and captivating captions in English, offering glimpses into the world while improving vocabulary.


@nowthisnews: NowThis News shares short news videos and informative content, providing an opportunity to hear English used in a conversational style.

@boredpanda: Bored Panda's TikTok account shares interesting and creative content, offering exposure to English used in a variety of contexts.

@9gag: 9GAG's TikTok account offers funny and relatable content, showcasing English used in a casual and humorous manner.

Engage in English

The second hack involves engagement. If students engage with posts related to their language learning goals, this signals to the algorithm that they are interested in this type of content and will prompt it to show more similar posts in the future. If students consistently engage with language learning posts, the algorithm will learn their preferences and show more relevant content. For example, they may start seeing videos with language learning tips, vocabulary challenges, or grammar explanations in your ‘For You’ or ‘Recommended’ sections.

Engagement can take many forms. Less confident learners only need to like or share posts for the algorithm to start learning. More advanced and confident learners can engage by writing or creating content. For example, students could post about their language learning progress, challenges, or achievements. This will also attract engagement from fellow language learners and native speakers, leading to more language-related content appearing in their feeds.

Keep it safe

Lastly, ensuring the safety of students while using social media for language learning is paramount. Social media is full of fake news, disinformation and harmful content. It is essential to establish clear guidelines on appropriate online behaviour and educate them about potential risks associated with interacting on these platforms. Encourage students to follow accounts like @FactCheck, which focuses on fact-checking and debunking misinformation. They provide evidence-based analysis and explanations to help users develop critical thinking skills when evaluating the accuracy of claims and information. Critical thinking and source critical awareness skills are best developed through a combination of sources. It's important to follow a diverse range of accounts, engage in discussions, verify information from reliable sources, and critically evaluate different perspectives.

By implementing these hacks, curating relevant content, engaging in English, and prioritizing online safety, you can turn our students' social media feeds into dynamic language classrooms.

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