• ACTFL goal areas: cultures, communication
  • Level: intermediate and above
  • Learning objectives: evaluate formal and informal language use on Facebook page; reflect on students’ language use on their own Facebook profile and recognize the importance of responsible social media use

Directions

  1. Have students work in pairs with one or more smartphones.
  2. Provide students with the name of various Facebook pages of the target country offering some type of service (e.g., housekeeping, yard work, plumbing, exterior house painting, pet sitting, long-distance moving, etc.).
  3. Each pair of students picks two pages, examines the language of the page owner and costumers, and reflects on the language used. Provide some guiding questions:
    • Is the language formal or informal? How can you tell?
    • Why do you think the page owner/customers chose to be formal or informal? Why is this choice important?
    • Do the two pages use the target language in the same way? How so?
    • Think about Facebook pages in your own language. What language do they use? Why so?
    • What language do you use on your own Facebook profile? How is it similar or different from how you use language in face-to-face interactions?
  4. After students discuss the guiding questions above, have some pairs share their opinions with the rest of the class. The class discussion should be conversational with students replying to one other.
  5. At the end of the activity explain that Facebook pages represent a brand, thus they are usually strategic in the choice of language use. In the same way, students need to be responsible when sharing opinions on their own Facebook profiles and on SNSs in general.

Options and suggestions

  • Intermediate-level students should discuss the guiding questions in the target language. Encourage students to take note of their opinions and comments when discussing the guiding questions. When choosing Facebook pages prior to the activity, select pages that present both formal and informal language and comments under posts.