Teachers on TikTok: Creative strategies and resources for making content go viral. An evolution in education?



TikTok is experiencing exponential growth, especially among the younger generation. In the educational context, teachers are using the platform to disseminate personal publications and make them go viral. In this study, multimodal discourse analysis is used, together with grounded theory and the constant comparative method, to understand and interpret the resources and strategies being deployed by teachers to create content. It is found that teachers use different types of affordances of the TikTok platform. In terms of technological affordances, the short video stands out, as well as the ‘selfie shot’ and the teacher’s own voice for representing themself, rather than music or lip-synching. In terms of social affordances, there is trend-following, a casual and optimistic tone, games and humour. In terms of inherited affordances, the whiteboard and marker pen, the centrality of exams or the continued use of the classroom are introduced into the virtual world. This creates tension between these analogisms and their opposite: the ‘Tiktokification’ of the educational space. In the case of certain profiles, the educational purpose is replaced by a move towards personal growth on the internet and the promotion and commercialisation of products, imitating processes typical of influencers. There is also an overexposure of choreographed students, as well as indicators of sexualization of content, in an appropriation of the role of teacher for particular purposes. At the same time, the platform enables the visibility of educational profiles that offer expanded accessibility to very specific and concrete pedagogical content, without this resulting in the implementation of micro-learning strategies or representing a radical break with traditional education.


TikTok, education, affordances, teachers, online learning, digital learning


ADNAN, N.; RAMLI, S. e ISMAIL, S. (2021). «Investigating the usefulness of TikTok as an educational tool». International Journal of Practices in Teaching and Learning, 1 (2), 1-5.

ALEKHIN, V. K. (2021). «Osnovnye printsipy raboty algoritmov TikTok [Basic principles of TikTok algorithms]». Vek informatsii, 5 (2), 53-65. https://doi.org/10.33941/age-info.com52(15)7

ATTWOOD, F. (2006). «Sexed up: Theorizing the sexualization of culture». Sexualities, 9 (1), 77-94. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363460706053336

BELL, P. (2001). «Content analysis of visual images». En: VAN LEEUWEN, T. y JEWITT, C. (eds.). The handbook of visual analysis. Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 10-19.

BHANDARI, A. y BIMO, S. (2022). «Why’s Everyone on TikTok Now? The Algorithmized Self and the Future of Self-Making on Social Media». Social Media + Society, 8 (1). https://doi.org/10.1177/20563051221086241

BIDDLE, S.; RIBERIRO, P. V. y DIAS, T. (2020). «Invisible censorship: TikTok told moderators to suppress posts by ‘ugly’ people and the poor to attract new users». The Intercept. Recuperado de https://theintercept.com/2020/03/16/tiktok-app-moderators-users-discrimination/ [Fecha de consulta: 22/04/023].

BUCKNELL-BOSSEN, C. y KOTTASZ, R. (2020). «Uses and gratifications sought by pre-adolescent and adolescent TikTok consumers». Young Cons, 21, 463-478. https://doi.org/10.1108/YC-07-2020-1186

CASTILLEJOS, B. (2021). «Ambivalencia en TikTok: aprendizaje permanente y riesgos de seguridad coexistiendo». Revista de investigación educativa de la Rediech, 12. https://doi.org/10.33010/ie_rie_rediech.v12i0.1294

CATALÀ, J. M. (2019). «Los influencers y el marketing digital, una convivencia necesaria». Oikonomics, 11. https://doi.org/10.7238/o.n11.1903

CHEUNG, R. y VOGEL, D. (2011). «Can Facebook Enhance the Communications between Teachers and Students?». The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review, 17 (11), 385-398. https://doi.org/10.18848/1447-9494/cgp/v17i11/47356

CORBETTA, P. (2007). Metodología y técnicas de investigación social. Madrid: McGraw Hill.

FUNG, A. y HU, Y. (2022). «Douyin, storytelling, and national discourse». International Communication of Chinese Culture, 9, 139-147. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40636-022-00259-z

GLASER, B. (1992). Basic of grounded theory analysis: emergence versus forcing. Mill Valley: Sociology Press.

GLASER, B. G. y STRAUSS, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: strategies for qualitative research. Londres: Aldine.

HARTUNG, C.; HENDRY, N. A.; ALBURY, K.; JOHNSTON, S. y WELCH, R. (2022). «Teachers of TikTok: Glimpses and gestures in the performance of professional identity». Media International Journal. https://doi.org/10.1177/1329878X211068836

HEYANG, T. y MARTIN, R. (2022). «Teaching through TikTok: a duoethnographic exploration of pedagogical approaches using TikTok in higher dance education in China and Norway during a global pandemic». Research in Dance Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/14647893.2022.2114446

HU, Y. (2020). «Research on the commercial value of TikTok in China». Academic Journal of Business & Management, 2 (7). https://dx.doi.org/10.25236/AJBM.2020.020706

HUEBNER, E. J. (2022). «TikTok and museum education: A visual content analysis». International Journal of Education Through Art, 18 (2), 209-225. https://doi.org/10.1386/eta_00095_1

JIA, L. y LIANG, F. (2021). «The globalization of TikTok: Strategies, governance and geopolitics». Journal of Digital Media & Policy, 12, 273-292. https://doi.org/10.1386/jdmp_00062_1

KENNEDY, M. (2020). «If the rise of the TikTok dance and e-girl aesthetic has taught us anything, it’s that teenage girls rule the internet right now: TikTok celebrity, girls and the Coronavirus crisis». European Journal of Cultural Studies, 23 (6), 1069-1076. https://doi.org/10.1177/1367549420945341

KHLAIF, Z. y SALHA, S. (2021). «Using TikTok in Education: A Form of Micro-learning or Nano-learning?». Interdisciplinary Journal of Virtual Learning in Medical Sciences, 12 (3), 2-7. https://doi.org/10.30476/ijvlms.2021.90211.1087

LEE, YJ. (2022). «Language learning affordances of Instagram and TikTok». Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 17 (2), 1-16. https://doi.org/10.1080/17501229.2022.2051517

LIU, Y. (2023). «TikTok’s Influence on Education». Journal of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, 8, 277-280.

LYONS, K. (2021). «TikTok says it has passed 1 billion users». The Verge. Recuperado de https://www.theverge.com/2021/9/27/22696281/tiktok-1-billion-users [Fecha de consulta: 20/04/23]

MCCRORY, A.; BEST, P. y MADDOCK, A. (2022). «“It’s just one big vicious circle”: young people’s experiences of highly visual social media and their mental health». Health Educ Res, 37 (3), 167-184. https://doi.org/10.1093/her/cyac010

MENG, K. S. y LEUNG, L. (2021). «Factor influencing TikTok engagement behaviors in China: An examination of gratifications sought, narcissism and the Big Five personality traits». Telecommunications Policy, 45 (7). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.telpol.2021.102172

MONTAG, C.; YANG, H. y ELHAI, J. D. (2021). «On the Psychology of TikTok Use: A First Glimpse From Empirical Findings». Front. Public Health, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.641673

OMAR, B. y DEQUAN, W. W. (2020). «Watch, Share or Create: The Influence of Personality Traits and User Motivation on TikTok Mobile Video Usage». International Association of Online Engineering. Recuperado de https://www.learntechlib.org/p/216454/

REZENDE, F.; VAN KRUISTUM, C. y VAN OERS, B. (2016). «Teachers and Facebook: using online groups to improve students’ communication and engagement in education». Communication Teacher, 30, 228-241. https://doi.org/10.1080/17404622.2016.1219039

RONZHYN, A.; CARDENAL, A. S. y BATLLE RUBIO, A. (2022). «Defining affordances in social media research: A literature review». New Media & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/14614448221135187

SÁNCHEZ-LÓPEZ, I.; ROIG-VILA, R. y PÉREZ-RODRÍGUEZ, A. (2022). «Metaverse and education: the pioneering case of Minecraft in immersive digital learning». Profesional de la información, 31 (6). https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2022.nov.10

SCHELLEWALD, A. (2021). «Communicative Forms on TikTok: Perspectives from Digital Etnography». International Journal of Communication, 15, 1437-1457.

SEIFERT, T. (2016). «Involvement, collaboration and engagement: Social networks through a pedagogical lens». Journal of Learning Design, 9 (2), 31-45. https://doi.org/10.5204/jld.v9i2.272

THUMIM, N. (2012). Self-representation and digital culture. Nueva York: Springer.

VIZCAÍNO-VERDÚ, A. y ABIDIN, C. (2023). «TeachTok: Teachers of TikTok, micro-celebrification, and fun learning communities». Teaching and Teacher Education, 123. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2022.103978

WAHID, R.; KARJALUOTO, H.; TAIMINEN, K. y ASIATI, D. I. (2023). «Becoming TikTok Famous: Strategies for Global Brands to Engage Consumers in an Emerging Market». Journal of International Marketing, 31 (1), 106-123. https://doi.org/10.1177/1069031X221129554

YÉLAMOS-GUERRA, M. S.; GARCÍA-GÁMEZ, M. y MORENO-ORTIZ, A. J. (2022). «The use of Tik Tok in higher education as a motivating source for students». Porta Linguarum Revista Interuniversitaria de Didáctica de las Lenguas Extranjeras, 38, 83-98. https://doi.org/10.30827/portalin.vi38.21684

YIN, J.; GOH, T.; YANG, B. y XIAOBIN, Y. (2021). «Conversation technology with micro-learning: the impact of chatbot-based learning on students’ learning motivation and performance». Journal of Educational Computing Research, 59 (1), 154-177. https://doi.org/10.1177/0735633120952067

ZGHEIB, G. E. y DABBAGH, N. (2020). «Social media learning activities (SMLA): Implications for design». Online Learning, 24 (1), 50-66. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v24i1.1967




Download data is not yet available.