VOA Using Facebook to Teach English!

The Voice of America continues to reach out to new audiences in innovative ways, and now VOA is using Facebook to teach English language lessons as part of its popular on-line learning program called The Classroom.

Here’s how it works. Four times a day, the icon on VOA’s Learning English Facebook page changes to indicate a live, on-line class is “in session.”

Students can submit questions and be part of a free, hour-long, interactive language learning experience that uses materials and lessons from The Classroom, which is now averaging more than 180,000 users a month.

One of The Classroom’s Facebook teachers calls herself “The English Doctor.” When her class is “in-session,” users will be learning from Nina Weinstein, the author of dozens of books on teaching English as a foreign language. Another VOA Facebook teacher,“The English Traveler,” also has classes twice a day, and there are plans to add more instructors to the line-up.

Since The Classroom gave its first lesson on Facebook in February, the response has been positive, with about 16,000 views in the first 24 hour period. Thousands sign on for each lesson.

Many of VOA Facebook friends have written in to say how much they like the new program. One fan said today, “We have the best teacher ever in grammar. You are so good!”

Voice of America Director Danforth W. Austin says, “VOA’s pioneering use of Facebook to teach language is yet another example of how social media can bring people together to share common interests, and VOA is leading the way in the use of these innovative new online platforms.”

You can get to the Facebook class directly from www.voanews.com/theclassroom.

VOA editors came up with idea to teach English on Facebook when they noticed they were getting hundreds of questions from VOA’s 40,000 Learning English Facebook fans (click here to join) who often ask about grammar, pronunciation, capitalization, and other English usage rules.

In addition to Facebook lessons, The Classroom (click here to get started) also has a new Business Wordbook with hundreds of business terms, pictures and sample dialogues to help users learn American business English.

Under the activities tab of The Classroom, there are new “English survival” activities, including how to order breakfast and how to count money. Plans are also underway for a new Interactive Health Wordbook, with pictures, definitions and sample dialogues relating to health, fitness and well being.

For more about VOA Learning English visit www.voanews.com/learningenglish/home. For more about any VOA programs, or for the latest news and information, visit www.voanews.com.

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