In the summer we had the amazing Hannah with us on a work experience placement. She’s written a blog for us on social networking. Enjoy!
Nowadays, with technology becoming more advanced than ever, there are increasingly negative connotations surrounding the use of social networking sites, for example Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Granted, nobody can deny the risks involved with this evolution of technology, including addiction and people (especially teens and young children) being exposed to the risk of cyber bullying. However many people are too blinded by the disadvantages of social media that they disregard the positive aspects. For example, the benefits of communication and the improvement in education, particularly in modern foreign languages.
As a current A level French student, I speak from experience when I say that social media has improved my language learning tenfold because even when taking a break from studying my textbook, the language has a continuous presence in all aspects of my daily life. I love learning French because unlike many other subjects, I am able to apply it to any situation, make clear links between the other subjects I study and there is always more content to learn.
It brings a sense of familiarity when I am able to see faces such as Emmanuel Macron on my Instagram feed and reinforces what I learnt just that morning in class, where we were discussing his political values. Or when something amazing occurs in the news, for example, a few months ago when Mamoudou Gassama, a young Malian migrant saved a four year old child hanging from a fourth floor balcony in Northern Paris and was later invited to the Élysée Palace where he was honoured for his bravery by the French President, and told that he would be welcomed as not only a French citizen but also a member of the Paris fire brigade. All of which I was initially made aware of through the viral video of the heroic act on Twitter, Emmanuel Macron’s Instagram post and the news articles that followed.
Furthermore, on Twitter and Youtube, I am able to see videos and interviews from some of my favourite celebrities on French television shows, such as Quotidien. Or I can watch videos from different French youtubers, or if I am struggling with a particular topic, then there is a youtube channel called ‘Un Jour, Une Question’ which explains aspects of French culture and history so it is simpler and easier to understand. One of the most beneficial apps, in my opinion, is Spotify because it improves my French listening ability. It is easy to discover many rising French artists through the French Top 50 or alternate playlists. Reading the lyrics a couple of times is also very helpful. Some of my favourite French songs are ‘Mercy’ by Madame Monsieur, which featured in Eurovision 2018 and ‘Je Vole’ by Louane, which featured in the film, ‘La famille Belier’.
So, not only does social media allow me to expand my horizons with regard to vocabulary but also topics that may have been deemed unsuitable for the classroom, whether that be because they aren’t serious enough or there isn’t enough appropriate information or statistics on them.
Of course, I am not using this to say that it is acceptable to be on social media 24/7, however perhaps some excuses are not actually that far-fetched after all.