The Wall Street Journal just published an article about different chat applications and decided to end it with a couple of paragraphs about our experiment with using WhatsApp this year (see Here’s How We’re Using “WhatsApp” For Language-Learning).
Here’s the part about us:
At Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, Calif., teachers use WhatsApp to help non-English-speaking students learn the language. Most students already had the app, so teachers created a group chat for the class. Teachers pose a daily question in English by text and audio message to the group, giving students until the morning to respond.
Larry Ferlazzo, who has taught English for nonnative speakers for 11 years at the inner-city school, says WhatsApp lets students speak and write their answers. “Both features are important for learners of a second language,” he says.Mr. Ferlazzo says it would be challenging to use Facebook in a similar way. “You’d have to all ‘friend’ everybody else,” he said. “That might put unnecessary pressure on students to friend their teachers.”
By the way, if you click on the link to The Wall Street Journal article, you’ll find that it’s behind a paywall. However, here’s a trick that you might or might not know: The Journal has it set up that you can access any of their articles if you get to it via a search engine. So, you just find the headline of any article you want — in this case, “Chat Apps Take a Swipe at Facebook” – paste it into a search engine, click the link, and you can read the whole thing.
Very creative & cool way to engage second-language learners!