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IATEFL 2023 Conference - Ben's Thoughts on Claire Bowes' Talk on Teaching Materials for Social Media

Updated: Apr 24, 2023



I had long taken a dim view of social media in general - I use Facebook for news and was banned from Twitter. I have mocked Tik Tok (long referred to by me as "Tik Tw*t") and have no idea about Instagram but disparaged it as a vehicle for vanity. However, attending this year's IATEFL conference, I had resolved to be more open-minded about attending talks on subjects that were outside my area, experience or capability.


With the above points in mind, I headed over to listen to Claire Bowes' talk on using social media in teaching. This was one of the highlights of the conference for me, and one of the best talks I attended.


It was Claire's first ever IATEFL talk, and she did not fail to impress! She highlighted how social media is one of the main methods for English language learners to learn English. Tik Tok and Instagram are two key platforms for this.


To "teach" someone using social media, Claire stated we must ask ourselves the question "what can I teach someone in one minute?".


The key rules when creating social media content that Claire highlighted were very useful to hear:


- Do not over do it

- Manageable chunks

- Reduce teacher talk time with no pre-amble,

- Thumb-nail must tell the viewer what it is about and what they will learn

- There is no need for clickbait

- Pique their interest

- Share knowledge and get to point

- Be visual and use images and animation

- Be super upbeat (to compete with those cute dog videos)

- Pose a question


Hardware and software are the major barriers to production but Claire believes that learners using social media do not look for quality video but quality content. This lead to the question: what do we need to get started? Claire's answer: just our phone. Professional equipment does not equate to engagement; viewers are concerned with content.


For editing software, Claire recommends Canva, Capcut and Premiere Pro though the latter does need some expertise.


Claire also did a great job of answering my question about using social media as part of running a business: it's a hook and a shop window.


Distance Cert will soon be offering a Certificate in Teaching Using Social Media. To register your interest, email us at info@the-distance-cert-ibet.com.

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