Memes as a Digital Literacy Tool that has Motivational Role in ESL Classes

30 MINUTES OF SYNCHRONOUS CHAT WILL BEGIN AT 12:00PM (MST) MONDAY OCT. 3 USING THE EMBEDDED TLK.IO APP ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE SCREEN (PLEASE LOOK FOR THE BLUE BAR TITLED L2DLAZCALL2016).

Mohamed Yacoub, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Click the video frame above to view the presentation. To ask the presenters a question about their presentation, please add a comment at the bottom of this page between October 3 and October 8. Presenters will check for and reply to questions each symposium day.

Abstract

This presentation shows how to teach students to create memes to share on social media networking such as Facebook, how to make “awesome” memes that show students’ problems with learning any aspect of the language with ways of solving them, and how to make activities that make the best out of these memes.
Facebook and other social media websites have been replete with memes that mock reality, tell jokes, compare and contrast things, etc.  These memes can be useful tools for teachers to motivate their students and to utilize for the sake of teaching a specific task of grammar, vocabulary, etc. A teacher, for instance, can ask students to make memes showing how confusing words like “desert vs. dessert” can cause embarrassing situations.  I will also provide examples of websites that give templates for memes and help create ones. Creative practice of learning English encourages students to create a sense of originality, ownership, and innovation (Jeffery and Woods, 2009).

Also, adopting such creative ways of teaching English helps both teachers and students to develop curiosity, risk taking, and autonomy (Grainger et al., 2005; Cremin, 2009). This activity makes students develop their skills of how to own the language and how to be autonomous. It also makes them feel comfortable with learning the language so they can be innovative. In my presentation, I will be using a variety of techniques. I will use examples of memes, will show websites that help teachers introduce memes to students and help students create their own memes, and will ask my audience to share teaching situations that can fit memes.  In this presentation, I am targeting teachers of younger students and those how look for creative ways to motivate their students digitally.

Presenters
Mohamed Yacoub

PhD candidate in the department of TESOL and Composition
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

taha.mohamaad@gmail.com

2 thoughts on “Memes as a Digital Literacy Tool that has Motivational Role in ESL Classes”

  1. Hello Mohamed,
    Could you explain what you meant by the ‘rook up’ expression? I was trying to figure it out on my own, but I couldn’t. Maybe it is because English is a foreign language to me.
    I teach English in Brazil for young learners and I am sure my students would love an activity like that.
    I really enjoyed your presentation. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    1. Hi Nayara,
      Thank you for your question. Since I follow a translingual orientation to language, I just made up the word and what I meant by it was “creating;” i.e. to create memes. Memes can be a good activity for those who are familiar with it. I am not sure about the Brazilian students. Are social media memes well known there as they are here?

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