This post expands on a presentation titled Extending the Classroom: Using Whatsapp for Listening and Speaking Practice which I made at the TESOL Greece 37th Annual Convention 2016 in Athens, Greece.
As I wrote in my conference presentation abstract, one of the biggest challenges EFL teachers face is providing students with opportunities and reasons to engage in meaningful interactions. Constraints imposed by curricula (e.g. not enough class hours for speaking) or classroom sizes often mean that the ways students interact in the classroom are limited and insufficient for achieving desired language proficiency. Introduction of mobile technologies into the classroom provides an additional platform for interaction and communication, as, according to Kukulska-Hulme et al (2015), “Mobile technologies expand and extend the territory where language may be rehearsed and practised.”
Mobile phones are everywhere, including the classroom, and they are here to stay.The multitude of articles and blog posts providing ideas on using mobile phones, WhatsApp or talking about mobile learning attest to that.
Finding practical and meaningful ways to utilize mobile technology in the classroom has become an important part of my teaching practice and I am very happy to have developed activities that use mobile phones to practice English in a very organic way. I also found that having students do things with instant messaging apps like Whatsapp outside the classroom fosters learner autonomy and peer learning.