Instagram for EFL


Today I stumbled on something marvelous. After updating Instagram on my phone, I discovered that you can now make and share short videos.

One of the first videos I watched was a girl reading a list of words.

Fascinating right?

Well, sure, you’d be forgiven if you just went huh?!

However, the key to my interest is the hashtag: #dawnsaccentcollection

If you have instagram I highly recommend you search for the tag. There are several videos made by people all over the UK and some in the States, all reading the same list of words. It’s a great study in accents for anyone with a general interest, but we’re language teachers.

I’m excited! Are you?

Off the top of my head classroom applications:

  • Students choose two and compare the accents of one or two words of their choice. Use phonetic chart to analyse what’s going on.
  • Teacher chooses a word that includes a troublesome phoneme (specific to the class in question). Student’s watch 3 or 4 videos with varying accents and try and find a version that they are comfortable with pronouncing.
  • Kick off a discussion on varieties of English
  • Students record their own lists and share them using the hashtag
  • Oh! Doing an activity using this material on an interactive whiteboard. Swoon!

What are you going to do? Please leave your ideas in the comments box.

I can’t wait to see how this progresses in the next days/weeks. And yes, I’m now going to figure out how to record a list myself!

PS: If you are having trouble let me know. Although you should note I’m not the right person to give you technical instructions! I can point out that video doesn’t work on Androids operating older versions of Jellybean. However, Instagram can be accessed on a normal computer at You will need an account to log in and access content (maybe one of your students already has one and can help out).

PPS: Did you know I just started a company in the Randstad area of the Netherlands? I’m now taking on students here. Do me a favour, like me on facebook!

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12 Responses to Instagram for EFL

  1. wanderloste says:

    Very interesting! I never would have thought that Instagram could actually be used to LEARN useful things! Though this cool method of teaching English would only be applicable to social classes with ample access to internet, higher-tech phones and computers, it would nonetheless be interesting to see the end results of using social media to acquire English skills. So, assuming I’m teaching in such an environment, other than using your great ideas, I would:

    1. Give every student the same troublesome words to more easily measure progress & allow other students to see that everyone struggles with a new language
    2. Increase the difficulty of the words as their progress advances
    3. Have students record their pronunciation of the first pair of words once each week so the students can have a tangible “progress meter” to see how far they’ve come along

    This is great for allowing students to see that they indeed are getting better at pronouncing and learning English! I would use it mostly for those purposes.

    • languagelego says:

      @wanderloste – I agree that this rather depends on access to such technology in class. In the part of the world where I am (Netherlands) smart phones are more or less the norm with my students. One thing I really like about this idea is that it is using something that students probably already use for fun/leisure. But as you said they can LEARN stuff! I’m a fan of making language learning part of everyday life, incorporated with what people are already doing.
      I like your idea number 3, a ‘progress meter’ would be great!

  2. This is a great idea! Have put it on my list of ideas to try out in the new term. Thanks for sharing

  3. Matt Halsdorff says:

    Great idea – will have to see if I can try it out in class đŸ™‚

  4. Pingback: Resource Round-up – SKILLS | Fun & Creative ESL Workshops for Kids

  5. Just referenced your blog and this post in my latest post on lesson ideas and resources. I hope you don’t mind?! Here’s the link

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