UA International Students Improve English Skills Through Social Media Videos | New
Many international AU students have found that short social media videos are an entertaining and effective tool for improving their English skills.
With names like “Reels” and “Shorts,” social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram have sections of their apps devoted to catchy and often humorous 15-60 second videos that users can browse quickly. . Many creators who create language learning content have seized on these attractive materials. Such clips can feature advanced English expressions and idioms which are a challenge for many international students.
Larissa Rocha, a graduate student from Brazil, said using video clips to learn English has helped her improve her skill level. Rocha believes that visualizing concepts in an engaging, humorous or conversational way can be an effective strategy for those with some knowledge of the target language to improve their language skills, she said.
âSocial media clips like Reels can be more beneficial for learners if they discuss these clips with their peers inside and outside the classroom,â Rocha said.
Cindy Rauth, academic coordinator for UofA’s Language and Culture Studies program, believes social media clips are a great way to learn English, as humor is a central part of the practice process. Learning a language is an unfamiliar and often stressful experience, and entertainment and fun are important to enhance that experience, Rauth said.
âLearning a language is a challenge, in part because your language is part of your core identity, and therefore learning something that challenges who you are can be threatening and can be resistant,â said Rauth. âLanguage learners can be reluctant to expose their vulnerabilities and when humor is involved it can reduce stress and fear factors. “
Humor can help reduce learners’ defenses and make them more adept at engaging with the material easily, Rauth said. It can also make learning more enjoyable and create positive associations in memory.
Jiaying Chen, a Chinese doctoral student, believes social media content presents a fun and modern way for international students to improve their English learning outside of the classroom, she said.
“The reels are useful for learning English because the students can directly see how to use the advanced English words and phrases in a scene, but I don’t think it is a good idea to use these short videos in the educational program. “Chen said.
Rauth also believes that using social media as a tool makes sense for young people, who are already heavily engaged in online spaces, she said.
âI see a lot of people using their phones when they are bored and browsing online, so I think it could be very useful because while they are waiting they can watch these videos,â said Rauth.
Although social media is gaining popularity among language learners, some international students prefer other online and in-person methods of learning English.
Laura Mariana EchÃ¡varri Ibarra, a graduate student, said she preferred to listen to conversations, podcasts and music, use language learning apps, watch movies and read.
âI feel like I lose my patience when I see reels of people trying to teach English or any other language,â Ibarra said. âWhen I look at Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube reels, I think they’re not relevant or appealing to me. Plus, it’s easier to hear English podcasts while I’m driving.
Chen believes that social media videos may be a small tool in the arsenal of language learners, but they don’t replace more comprehensive learning tools, she said.
âFor me, as an international student, I prefer a whole learning process, not just short videos,â Chen said. “(Although) they could be a useful tool in the process.”
Rauth believes social media clips such as Reels, Shorts, and TikToks could be useful tools to showcase in her classroom and encourage her students to share with each other, she said.
âI could share them with my students so the students on the bus or in the queue can watch these funny videos,â Rauth said. âI would recommend them to my students because I think it’s a great way to keep learning. “