Oxford University Press

English Language Teaching Global Blog

25 ideas for using WhatsApp with English language students


teenagers playing on tabletsPhilip Haines is the Senior Consultant for Oxford University Press, Mexico. As well as being a teacher and teacher trainer, he is also the co-author of several series, many of which are published by OUP.  Today he joins us to provide 25 engaging and useful classroom activities for language learners using WhatsApp.

There are three main obstacles to the use of technology in ELT. First is the availability of technology and internet connection in the classroom. Second is teacher techno-phobia. The final, and perhaps the biggest problem, is knowing how to use it for language learning purposes.

WhatsApp or similar messaging services can help overcome these obstacles. If our classrooms are not well equipped, we can take advantage of the technology that students have on their phones, even if there is no internet available in class. Many activities can be set up by the teacher and extended beyond the classroom when students later link to Wi-Fi. Alternatively, students can show each other their phones at different stages of activities.

Many self-confessed, techno-phobic teachers that I know use WhatsApp on a regular basis in their private lives, so already feel quite comfortable with it. However, the trick is to set up activities that make students do all the work without the teacher needing to share contact details. Each student needs to have a WhatsApp buddy in the class who they communicate with via WhatsApp and carry out the activities.

Here are 25 ideas of how to make good use of WhatsApp for language learning. WhatsApp was the starting point for these ideas, but teachers will see that other applications and messaging services will work just as well. For these activities, I make use of the following five features: text, photo, video, audio and emoji.




Philip Haines moved to Mexico from England in 1995 and currently works as the Senior Academic Consultant for Oxford University Press Mexico. He has spoken internationally in three continents and nationally in every state in Mexico. Philip is the author/co-author of several ELT series published in Mexico.

Author: Oxford University Press ELT

The official global blog for Oxford University Press English Language Teaching. Bringing teachers and other ELT professionals top quality resources, tools, hints and tips, news, ideas, insights and discussions to help further their ELT career. Follow Oxford ELT on Twitter. Find Oxford ELT on Google+.

94 thoughts on “25 ideas for using WhatsApp with English language students

  1. Im a bit of tecnofobic, but I use it with my ss. Really useful!!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Pingback: 25 ideas for using WhatsApp with English language students | Oxford University Press – ALL YOU NEED IS MOOC

  3. Oooh! I loved this! My students and I are connected via whatsapp and we use it to send small videos we find about the topic we’re discussing, or to say we’ll be late. This is really fun and a much more educational way to use this tool. Thanks.

  4. Learning very easy by this process.

  5. Reblogged this on BroadyESL and commented:
    Great idea

  6. Pingback: 25 Ideas for Using WhatsApp with English Language Students – English Language Learners

  7. Reblogged this on InTouch Language School and commented:
    Love this!

  8. This is a great use of the app – a very versitile tool for practising lots of english language skills – thanks for the ideas! 🙂

  9. Thanks for sharing valuable information regarding Use of WhatsApp for Enhancing English Language Skills. Rally WhatsApp is a Whats Up for ESL learner.

  10. I simply loved all of the ideas.

  11. I use WhatsApp with some of my groups. It depends on whether the majority of students agree, and whether I can get a volunteer to act as admin /moderator. Set some ground rules Re: language, content, taboos etc.. And set up the group. If you want to share what’s on wb – easy peasy – just take a photo. You can send the group homework, links, etc. I will definitely try some of the activities mentioned above.
    What I tend to do is send utube links to videos I’ve made that either review or introduce language that will or has been used in lessons. This way I can personalise the material to students context, and level the language too.
    Anyway, thanks for this, would be nice to have an update with more activities, perhaps sharing some of the ideas mentioned in the comments.

  12. can someone ad me.?,i want to improve my english plz

  13. Learning methods very easy add me your wats up..9003752425

  14. Pingback: 25 ideas for using WhatsApp with students – L'ANGLAIS EN LP

  15. Amazing ideas, I’m definitely going to try them out on my students. Wechat is more popular than WhatsApp in china but most if not all the ideas are transferable.

  16. Add me in whatsapp gruop +923246110031

  17. These are just so great ! Loved them all. 😀

  18. Great ideas to apply in my lesson. Thank you.

  19. Im already trying these ideas with my young and adult students. Great fun and lots of learning!! A world of thanks from Argentina!

  20. Great article! Students want authentic form of communication. You can do so much with texting or WhatsApp! Here is a free article on how to use texting as an authentic reading and writing activity http://how-to-teach-english.ontesol.com/role-play-texting-authentic-reading-writing-esl-activity/

  21. I recommend a new app, it is HIDE WHATSAPP STATUS which let you open the whatsapp and chat with people but anybody can see that you are on line or your last conexion. It is easy to install, just 5MB and it doesn’t disconex mobile data! NICE APP 🙂

  22. It’s really interesting and innovative
    To use the available material is the best tool of learning. I think students want to learn and we have to teach but I hear complaints from teachers that students are not interested in learning. It’s not true we most of the time fail to make it interesting. For that this this is the answer and the best answer

  23. Pingback: Teen Summer School: Successes and Struggles – teflwaffle

  24. I’m from Brasil and my English in intermediate. If someone want to practice with me my whatsapp is 55 86 98094489

  25. +91 9043395306

  26. Philip, thank you so much, very useful. Saludos desde Ciudad Victoria!

  27. Absolutely wonderful! Well done!

  28. I would like to join one of these 😀

  29. One thing that Whatsapp lacks is the function of generating QR code for users to scan and join a group, which is available at WeChat. Without this function, it is a bit difficult to create bigger groups. But users can send messages to strangers without authorization, which is better than WeChat.

    Overall, WhatsApp needs to offer more features specifically designed for classroom teachers in order to make it more useful for education, e.g. integration with Moodle or Blackboard; API for third party developers.

  30. Pingback: Using Whatsapp for Speaking and Listening Practice | Yuliya Speroff

  31. Thanks Philip, Really like the accompanying graphics.
    How do you check whether the students did the assignment if it is just between two partners?

  32. I would like to join plz can u add ne some one +917799881943

  33. I’ve used it with elementary school pupils and it worked very well. It was great and they loved keeping in touch with each other and enjoyed using the language they had learnt. Highly motivating for sure. Loved it myself, as their enthusiasm was very infectious.

  34. Hey!! I want to improve my english
    So plz add me any group 918794594368

  35. Pingback: 25 ideas for using WhatsApp with English language students. Remember, Most International Families Use WhatsApp | BroadyELT

  36. Hey guyz , i want to improve my english plz add me groups +252634869425

  37. That is such a good programe using whatsapp, could you let me in to know for more ? Are this free or what? Thanks.
    Btw i m from indonesia.

  38. nice but how it works

  39. If there any such group then i would like to join to learn …please add my no..+91-9650601704

  40. I am Mohammad Nawaz, from Afghanistan. I want chat in English with someone because to improve my English. Add me +93708885295

  41. could u add me too +905512188999

  42. heyyy please add me

    +98 9142499197

    im Tohid..

  43. very useful suggestions

  44. I totally loved this! Can’t wait for tomorrow!

  45. Hello! could you add me on your what’s up group. I’m from Senegal and my number is 00221 77 354 07 88.

  46. So interesting, thank you for all this innovative ideas, I wasn’t aware of this good use of technology for learning aims until I reached the Unit of Advances in sciences and technology. I’ve already set a Facebook group for my students. I just want to know whether we can have some friends Group from England or Us for the Bac level all streams (literature & sciences). Thanks for feeding me back to my email fadisalama007@hotmail.com with regards! Ihssan, high school teacher of English from Morocco.

  47. It’s a pity that my school don’t let us use phones.
    Any other question Ihssan?

  48. Add me in group:7899581241

  49. This is awesome! Thank you for sharing…

  50. hi everybody! i wanna improve my english! by chatting in whatsapp this is my phone number 89056777785?

  51. Thank you so much for this great material.

  52. Please Add me in this group
    my no. 7013738664

  53. Pingback: 25 ideas para usar Whatsapp en la clase de idiomas… o en cualquier otra clase. – Ideas para la clase

  54. Pingback: How to Spark Dynamic Discussions Outside the Classroom! 10 Web Tools & Apps – ESL Library Blog

  55. This is awesome. Thank you for sharing. I’ll practice this with my Students.

  56. another idea of mine is that utilizing WA for reading games. this could be used as warming up/reviewing the previous lesson.

    I simply print a simple paragraph and share it to each student. afterwards, they race to type the paragraph on their WA and send it to my number/group as soon as they finish typing it.

  57. Liked the Idea in general and the ideas mentioned are great. Will try to figure out how I can give it a go in my classes. A pleasure to contemplate on these lines. Thank You.

  58. Great. I have come across this site by chance. I feel greatly impressed; consequently I’m going to arrange for a workshop with my fellow teachers to discuss the possibility of implementing this in their classes.
    Gamal Hamza,
    supervisor of English

  59. Thanks.
    God bless you!

  60. Pingback: Whatsapp for language learning | Learning Runyankore

  61. How to join this group

  62. Can u ad me pleace i want to learn britis(uk) englis?

  63. Pingback: APP AT A GLANCE: WHATSAPP (Nguyen Dao) | esl5073call

  64. I want to improve my English …add me please!!!

  65. Pingback: Nguyen – WhatsApp | esl5073call

  66. Hey, lovely ideas, I’m also a teacher and I really liked the icons of the different types of exercises and I’d love to adopt them.
    Is there any copyright restriction?
    Can I use icons and also concentrate the excellent ideas and send them to my teachers?

  67. It’s reallu great

  68. Great job. Wonderful. Thanks a bunch.

  69. Great ideas. In the school-free time because of Corona it can be a good idea to keep in contact.

  70. This is so useful. Thanks for sharing

  71. Pingback: 5 ways to use emojis for EAL pupils at home & in the classroom - FlashAcademy

  72. Pingback: Technology for English Teachers - ESL Teacher 365

  73. Great share thank you for your useful idea👍🏻

  74. Pingback: Teaching ESOL Literacy Online – Emily Bryson ELT

  75. Pingback: WhatsApp’s uses – Digital Teaching

  76. Thank you very much for a very important topic. Everyone, please give the owner of the site all thanks for the important topic.

  77. thanks .. I found it very useful … can I translate this to my local language and take print out ?

  78. Good Post
    Thanks for Sharing

  79. Pingback: 28 Activity Ideas for Teaching ESL with WhatsApp – Literacy Connexus

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.