Tumblr isn’t just for hipsters

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As a busy and devoted teacher, the idea of becoming Tumblr famous probably never crossed your mind. And this is perfectly normal. But what if being Tumblr famous meant running the coolest ESL teaching blog and having your students as followers?

An ideal use of Tumblr would be for the teacher to manage a main page for the class and have every student create her/his own page. More than sharing essential course information, the teacher could post a task every week, like giving them hashtags to explore on Tumblr, ask them to interact with other classmates or evaluate their weekly contribution. Students themselves may certainly give feedback to each other (+)! After customising it to their own gusto, they can also use their Tumblr to gather inspirational posts and ideas for future articles. As an ESL teacher, I would suggest my students to use it as a personal portfolio in which they may share anything that contributes to the creative process, for instance, of a team project or a written production. For Tumblr is quickly accessible and minimalist; either select Text, Photo, Quote, Link, Chat, Audio or Video and you are ready to create a post! Find another blog’s post you like, click on Reblog and bam! it is on your wall.

Let me give you an actual example of a pedagogical use of Tumblr. My sister created this blog while teaching Art History in Cegep. She used this platform to share course notes, documents seen in class, videos, important reminders, artsy events coming up in the city and other awesome stuff. The students could therefore use it as a reference accessible anytime, while it gave them an opportunity to explore the subject beyond the limits of the course plan. Moreover, any student could add content directly on the blog or ask questions to the teacher via the platform. More importantly, this Tumblr page was so much more appealing to the eye than the regular greyish school portal. Here is a similar example, as suggested by Samantha Peters in her article.

To be a member of the Tumblr community can as well simply allow the students to open their mind to miscellaneous subjects. The types of blogs I follow go from vintage clothing, (very) weird things and Maru the cat to music-related pages,  cinematographic philosophy and magazines! Although these may encourage procrastination (they really do), this particular blog, and similar others, can feed the students’ curiosity and thinking. Furthermore, as one of the aim of an ESL student is to receive input in the second language, almost anything on Tumblr can help reaching it. As long as it involves English.

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