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Teaching English Via Facebook

The Voice of America (VOA) continues to reach out to new audiences in innovative ways. Now, VOA is using Facebook to teach English language lessons as part of its popular online learning program, The Classroom.

Here’s how it works: Four times a day, the icon on VOA’s Learning English Facebook page changes to indicate a live, online class is “in session.”

Students can submit questions and be part of a free, hour-long, interactive language learning experience that uses materials and lessons from The Classroom, which is now averaging more than 180,000 users a month.

One of The Classroom’s Facebook teachers calls herself “The English Doctor.” When her class is “in session,” users learn from Nina Weinstein, the author of dozens of books on teaching English as a foreign language. Another VOA Facebook teacher, “The English Traveler,” also has classes twice a day. There are plans to add more instructors to the line-up.

Since The Classroom gave its first lesson on Facebook in February this year, the response has been positive, with about 16,000 views in the first 24-hour period. Thousands sign on for each lesson.

Many of VOA’s Facebook friends have written in to say how much they like the new program. “We have the best teacher ever in grammar. You are so good!” said a fan.

Voice of America Director Danforth W. Austin says, “VOA’s pioneering use of Facebook to teach language is yet another example of how social media can bring people together to share common interests, and VOA is leading the way in the use of these innovative new online platforms.”

You can get to the Facebook class at http://www.facebook.com/voalearningenglish.

VOA editors came up with the idea to teach English on Facebook when they noticed they were getting hundreds of questions from VOA’s more than 76,000 Learning English Facebook fans who often ask about grammar, pronunciation, capitalization and other English usage rules.

In addition to Facebook lessons, The Class­room also has a new Business Wordbook with hundreds of business terms, pictures and sample dialogues to help users learn American business English.

Under the activities tab of The Classroom, there are new “English survival” activities, including how to order breakfast and how to count money. Plans are also underway for a Interactive Health Wordbook, with pictures, definitions and sample dialogues relating to health, fitness and well being.


Text courtesy Voice of America.