AESLA 2023: Ana Sancho analyses the affordances of scientific tweets in the EFL classroom

Ana Sancho-Ortiz participated in the 40th AESLA (Asociación Española de Lingüística Aplicada) conference, organised in Mérida from 26th to 28th April by the University of Extremadura, where she presented a paper entitled “Scientific tweets in the EFL classroom? Analysing (its) technical affordances and (multimodal) features to teach and learn English”. In her presentation, Sancho-Ortiz explained different applications that could be given to tweets for science dissemination to teach and learn English. Basing her analysis on the multimodal nature of the platform, she proposed diverse ways of exploiting this kind of tweet to promote skill integration and enhance students’ integral development and multimodal communicative competence.

The full abstract of Ana Sancho’s talk can be consulted as follows:

Scientific tweets in the EFL classroom? Analysing (its) technical affordances and (multimodal) features to teach and learn English

The context of teaching and learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) has experienced several transformations in the last decades, including the digitalisation of teaching materials (Hashim, 2018; Selwyn, 2012) and the consolidation of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) as the preferred methodological approach (Richards, 2006). As a result, a new conception of language teaching has emerged in which students’ development is not only dependent on language-related practice, but also on the acquisition of relevant 21st century skills (Blinkley et al., 2012) and the key competences established by the European Council. Among these, the communicative competence stands out, whose acquisition partly relies on Ellis & Shintani’s (2014) Second Language Acquisition principles, such as the meaning negotiation and the skill integration. 

Considering this, the present study tries to assess the potential of Twitter accounts for science dissemination as EFL teaching and learning tools. With this purpose, 100 tweets were manually gathered (via screenshots) from two organisational accounts for science dissemination, @WWF and @Greenpeace, following numerical and chronological criteria. A genre analysis was first undertaken, exploring the tweets in terms of their discoursal features and multimodal resources, to then carry out a pedagogical analysis from the perspective of CLT, considering their potential to teach individual linguistic aspects (i.e., grammar, vocabulary), integrated skills (via multimodality) and the acquisition of key competences. 

It was found that using these tweets in the EFL classroom may facilitate the acquisition of the communicative competence and the practice of integrated skills, as well as promote students’ integral development, as they are useful material to practice key 21st century skills such as ICT literacy and multimodal competence. In conclusion, tweets for science dissemination have been proved to be an effective source of authentic L2 input and working materials that can foster students’ motivation and their personal and academic development.


English as a Foreign Language, language teaching, multimodality, online discourse, Twitter


Blinkley, M., Erstad, O., Herman, J., Raizen, S., Ripley, M., Miller-Ricci, M., & Rumble, M. (2012). Defining twenty-first century skills. In: Griffin P., McGaw B., Care E. (Eds.), Assessment and teaching of 21st century skills (pp. 17-66). Springer. 

Ellis, R. and Shintani, N. (2014). Exploring language pedagogy through second language acquisition research. Routledge. 

Hashim, H. (2018). Application of technology in the digital era education. International Journal of Research in Counseling and Education, 2(1), 1–5. 

Richards, J. C. (2006). Communicative language teaching today. Cambridge University Press. 
Selwyn, N. (2012). Education in a digital world: Global perspectives on technology and education. Routledge.