Think social media is a distraction and an excuse to procrastinate? According to Dr Ai Addyson-Zhang it may not be. Dr Addyson-Zhang is an Associate Professor of Public Relations at Stockton University. She thinks it may be the solution to bridging the gap between teaching and learning. We investigate below.
South African students, and students from around the word, have problems connecting with the learning material in their classrooms. Often resulting in poor performance. Could this be because there is a language barrier? Or could it be because we are struggling to connect with the teacher?
The Language Barrier
There’s no denying that there is a language barrier problem in South Africa. But that’s not because we are a country that boasts 11 official languages. It’s because of the way we communicate with each other. Our online and social media communication is completely different. So different to what’s expected of us in the classroom.
The use of emojis to communicate emotions has almost become a new language. This is according to Dr Ai Addyson-Zhang. She is passionate about encouraging educators to step into the students’ world. To use this new-found knowledge to ignite a passion within them. Communicating more and making themselves more relatable to their students.
Bridging the Gap
If a teacher makes an effort to understand his or her students, it makes them more relatable. It makes it so much easier for a student to connect with them on a deeper level. Can’t connect with a teacher? Then there’s a good chance that you will not be able to connect with what they are trying to teach you.
As Dr Ai Addyson-Zhang also states:
“Students don’t always remember what they learn; but they remember how a class makes them feel.”
Could this be the secret to better performing, motivated students? Could this be the answer to bridging the gap? Could social media be the tool necessary to overcome the obstacles? The ones holding students and teachers back from reaching their full potential?
Only time will tell…