Instagram logo | Gabby Jones | Bloomberg
Instagram logo | Gabby Jones | Bloomberg

Everybody is talking about the lengthy teaching sessions on Zoom and YouTube this year. But like everything, there is a brave new entrant into the online teaching game, too, in 2020. It’s called Instagram Reels classroom. English teaching classes have been around for years, often helping those who want to improve their odds in India’s job market. But they have never been more fun and innovative like Insta Reels. It’s short, snappy and not only teaches you English-speaking but also cool youthful slang. Just the kind of stuff millennials get attracted to. It is perfect for young learners with short attention spans but secretly yearning to be with Netflix watching ‘in-crowd’ — without the subtitles to help.

‘English speaking skills’ is a mandate in almost every job in India, and with increasing globalisation, it is a skill that is rapidly seen as one of the crucial determiners in a person’s employability. This may be even more pertinent as Covid has confined job hunting and working itself to digital spaces where the knowledge of English proves to be one of the deciding factors in getting and/ holding on to a job, in almost every field.

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From small towns to metropolises, institutes that offer ‘English speaking’ classes have mushroomed speedily, as a quick Google search will show you.

As the pandemic mandated online teaching, English language experts, too, shifted their classes online. While YouTube is usually the space where video classes are uploaded, Instagram Reels seems to be the more popular choice right now with many uploading 30-second videos for people who want to learn or brush up their skills.


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YouTube versus Instagram Reels for classes

While YouTube definitely offers more time and scope for educators and teachers to give detailed lessons, short attention span is a very real issue. And with video classes going upwards of at least 15 minutes, the ability to remember and process and retain seems to be at stake. And this is possibly where Instagram Reels’ teaching factors in.

Instagram Reels allows one to make 30-second videos and within that, an educator has to convey whatever he/she wants to say. Quick, basic tips and use of graphics make the experience more enjoyable.

Watching such reels while scrolling down your Instagram page, and improving your vocabulary at the same time doesn’t seem like a bad deal.

 

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A post shared by Geet (@englishwithgeet)


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How to ace the Insta(nt) teaching

The best part about Reels is the multimedia experience that keeps you glued to the content rather than just the creator. Since the videos are short and snappy, the creator gets to the point without wasting time with introductions or background.

The learning is more street-smart as opposed to any defined course structure — much like the content they offer. And it’s justified. These are not extensive grammar classes detailing how to tackle an extended professional conversation. These are ‘lessons’ on the everyday, almost colloquial English that Indians tend to use on an everyday basis and go wrong. Or in some instances, like with this reel by englishwitharun, it simply involves translating certain colloquial Hindi phrases into English.


Or they could be about addressing the problem of ‘over use’ of a certain term and finding appropriate synonyms for them.

With exposure to the ‘online’ world for nearly everything during the pandemic, a sense of Zoom exhaustion or of being tired by the constant requirement of being online has set in. So a 30-second reel feels more welcoming over a 3 or 30-minute video.

As someone who had a stint at a coaching institute, conducting classes on spoken English, I do appreciate the ‘added value’ these reels offer. They do not demand much of anyone, except maybe replaying them a few times, and learning a new ‘cool’ English sentence to be used in the next conversation with friends or family, or even a stranger, while you ask them, “Can I have your digits?”

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