When you teach teens you can’t but go with the latest apps, social services and devices. Most teenagers have recently been obsessed with a quite new social media app called TikTok which is used more and more every day. Many teens use it more than Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. One would say that the use of TikTok may hinder and bring inconveniences to our classrooms. However, we can make the most of it and engage in our classes to make them more entertaining and motivating.
What is TikTok?
It is a video-sharing social networking system founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming. The app was only launched in 2017 for the markets outside of China. Here, users create short videos up to 15 seconds of themselves lip-syncing or acting out sketches. Users can also add special effects, comment on other’s videos. TikTok also enables live streaming of videos via Live.Me and interaction with the audience via a chat function. Before getting your students to use this app, mind that they should be older than 13.
English channels on TikTok
On the 17th of October, 2019 TikTok launched a new program called Edutok to inspire education. The users have already created more than 10 million educational videos. With Edutok, the company has made small virtual classrooms. Users of the TikTok can learn English phrases by watching short and funny videos. There is an important English channel on the TikTok India platform -- English with Geet. Geet teaches English idioms, common phrases, etc. She has more than 5 million followers on the platform. Following her channel will provide your students with an opportunity to listen to Indians speaking English. This will broaden their mind on various ways of pronunciation and accents and will make it easier to differentiate specific sounds.
In this channel, the speaker explains English grammar material in Russian showing the examples on a sheet of paper. There are already 220 Tiktok videos on this channel. It may turn out to be useful for those Russian students who have difficulty in learning grammar in English.
The host of the channel covers different grammar and vocabulary topics providing specific examples. This channel suits beginners who want to learn to speak English in a short time. The hosts will help them to make up short and correct sentences and to express their main ideas.
Using TikTok efficiently
Here are some ways to use TikTok in the classroom.
- Practise Tense forms. Ask your students to film funny videos and then do a quiz. Possible questions to practise Present Simple and Continuous:
- What are they doing?
- What is she wearing?
- Who is playing the guitar?
- Does she play the guitar every day or just now?
- Does she wash the dishes every morning?
- Case study analysis. There is an interesting program in TikTok called TikTok for good. It is aimed at doing something good and important for our planet, for education, for pets, for climate, etc. You can choose one of the topics with your students, and ask them to do a case study on it. They must analyse which campaign worked, which one was a failure and how can it be improved. This will get them to boost their critical thinking, to make comparisons and give specific reasons to prove their opinion.
- Create ads. If you have students who work in the sphere of marketing and advertisement, you can conduct the following task. Ask your students to choose one of the famous brands “Gucci”, “Channel”, “Armani”, “Guess”, etc to advertise. Ask them to find out detailed information on its characteristic features and then make a TikTok ad. The student whose advertisement gets more views in one hour on TikTok becomes the winner.
- Create a daily vocabulary. One of the best ways to practise new vocabulary is to use it as much as possible. Ask your students to make a funny video with the new words and post it on TikTok with hashtag #English. Then analyse each of the videos and ask your students to check and vote for them 🙂
- Practise time and place prepositions. To make learning prepositions easy and fun ask your students to film short videos on TikTok using as many prepositions as they can in one sentence. Of course, these prepositions must be used properly and with humour.
- Teach to learn. One of the effective ways of learning is to teach the subject to somebody else. Ask your students to create their own channel dedicated to the English language and create corresponding videos for every lesson. For example, if today they have learnt Past Simple, ask them to film short TikTok videos for the next lesson. They should also add proper hashtags to get more viewers.
- Practise pronunciation. Filming videos not only improves students’ speaking and enlarges vocabulary, but also has a great influence on their pronunciation. Choose a list of words that your students have difficulty in pronunciation, send it to one of them. The student then must make up funny sentences with these words focusing on the pronunciation. At the end of the video, he/she must send a challenge to one of his/her classmates and post it on TikTok. The chain of the challenge goes on until the moment all students take part in it.
- Celebrities on TikTok. TikTok has become a popular platform not only among teenagers but also among many celebrities. In our previous articles, we have shared some tips on how to talk about celebrities using their Instagram posts and lesson ideas on English with celebrities. Some of the recommendations can also be applied here. Here is the list of celebrities who have accounts on TikTok.
Ariana Grande -- @arianagrande
Arnold Schwarzenegger -- @arnoldschnitzel
Britney Spears -- @britneyspears
Christina Aguilera -- @xtina
Ed Sheeran -- @edsheeran
Justin Bieber -- @justinbieber
Mariah Carey -- @mariahcarey
Khloe Kardashian -- @khloékardashian
Miley Cyrus -- @mileycyrus
Nick Jonas -- @nickjonas
Ed Sheeren, for example, has launched “#beautiful people” challenge on TikTok and is choosing the videos that he likes most and shares them on his account. You can ask your students to create similar videos, take part in this challenge and post it on TikTok. Then they must explain their choice answering the questions:
Check the video as an example:
- Why did you choose this person?
- Describe his/her appearance.
- What is special about him/her?
Hopefully, the information and tips mentioned above will come in handy to make the most of TikTok and bring creativity, freshness and challenges in your classrooms.