giovedì 21 novembre 2013

Homework Is... Fun!

My classes in small groups usually take place once or twice a week. I know it's difficult to keep your English fit out of the classroom if you don't live in an English speaking country. For this reason, homework is a great solution to help students use the language during the rest of the week. However, boring homework produces the opposite effect: students don't do it. Here you are some tips to give your students  interesting homework

1. Creativity
- Create a Role-Play using the Target Language learnt in class.
Example: If you have taught useful expressions at the airport, ask students to create a role play about booking a flight.
- Change the ending of a story read in class.
Example: If you have had a reading activity, ask students to re-write the end of the story.
- Write a paragraph, an article, an email or an essay about a topic explored in class.
A writing exercise can be used at any level. From the beginner (a paragraph about the family) to the advanced level (an essay about the advantages and disadvantages of mobile phones).

2. Interaction
- Interview a member of the family or a friend.
Example: Two weeks ago my upper-intermediate students interviewed an important person in their life in order to use present perfect simple/continuous, past perfect simple/continuous, past simple/continuous.

- Do a survey.
Example: If you have taught food vocabulary, ask students to carry out a survey about their families' food habits.
- Find someone who speaks English offline or online and do some practice.
Speaking to a mothertongue people is one of the best exercises a language learner can do. You can suggest some websites where students can find penfriends such as 

3. IT
English Attack 
Every week you can find a free video booster which is an activity based on the vocabulary of a movie.
Learner's Dictionary
In monolingual classes students usually try to translate the new vocabulary learnt. Ask them to have a note book where they can jot down the meaning of the new words (in English, of course).
Johnny Grammar
Everyone has a smartphone. Ask students to download an app they can use when they have spare time to improve their grammar knowledge.
- Youtube
Do what you like and you will learn. Ask students to listen to their favourite songs using videos with lyrics.

4. AVOID Gap-filling exercises
I don't know why but everytime I gave this kind of exercise students came up with an excuse because they hadn't done it. Perhaps it's just my personal experience, but I think students find these exercises quite boring.

5. AVOID Group work
Both young learners and adults are pretty busy (school or work) and this means that only some of the members of  a group will do the activity at home.

What homework has turned out to be more efficient with your students? Share your experience with me!

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