Social Media

“Everyone is living for everyone else now. They’re doing stuff so they can tell other people about it.”

Karl Pilkington, British TV presenter
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LESSON OVERVIEW

This free ESL lesson plan on social media has been designed for adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

Social media has given people the opportunity to connect with friends and other people from all corners of the world. It has played a huge role in globalisation and the flow of information. But has this really been to the benefit of humanity? Many people blame social media for a breakdown in communication and relationships, and others say that instead of bringing us closer together, it is actually making us feel lonelier and more despressed. In this ESL lesson plan on social media, students will have the opportunity to discuss and express their opinions on issues such as their favourite social networks, how they use them and what problems are associated with social media.

This lesson plan could also be used with your students to debate these issues for World Social Media Day, which takes place in June. For more lesson plans on international days and important holidays, see the calendar of world days to plan your classes for these special occasions.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

CNN | A child drove 200 miles to meet a stranger. Here’s how to make sure your kid doesn’t do the same

The article raises the issue of an 11-year-old boy who drove across his state to meet a man he had met on social media. The article goes on to give parents advice on how to protect their children from threats on social media such as inappropriate content, fake friends, cyberbullying, social network addiction and scams. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was said? Can they think of any other ways to keep children safe on the internet and on social networks?

Video activity
To save time in class for the conversation activities, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below and answer the listening questions in Section 3 of the lesson plan at home. There are intermediate listening questions and advanced listening questions so teachers can decide which would be more appropriate for their students. Check the answers in the class.

The video for this class is called “Can social media use cause depression?” by CNN which discusses new research that has found a link between social media and feelings of depression and loneliness.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means and if they agree with it. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including what the students like most about social media, what they like to share or see shared by their friends, and how social media has changed the way we live our lives.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with social media such as go viral, trend and troll. This vocabulary has been chosen to boost the students’ knowledge of less common vocabulary that could be useful for preparing for English exams like IELTS or TOEFL. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the listening questions. Before checking the answers, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about social networks. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as the negative effects social media has had on society, how social networks might be considered dangerous, and what safety advice they would give to people using social media.

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write about their opinion of social media. This could be a short paragraph or a longer piece of writing depending on what level the student is at. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise and improve their grammar with the feedback from their teacher. For students who intend to take an international English exam such as IELTS or TOEFL, there is an alternative essay question to practise their essay-writing skills.

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