6 online tools to spice up your English classes
- Teaching qualifications
- Tips & Strategies
Raise your hand if you enjoyed doing homework at school. No? Neither did I.
Despite the fact that students do not prefer to work outside the classroom, the practice of English outside of school has not harmed anyone. Moreover, such tasks help students take responsibility for their learning and notice their own progress.
We, as teachers, have a task to make homework meaningful, relevant, and engaging, i.e. it should occupy an important place in the student’s life, be useful and practical, and even interesting.
If learners know the answer to the question Why am I doing this? (and preferably not “because it will be checked by the teacher”), then you will not have to make them do homework.
Learn about English language teaching
So what homework assignments can we give to our students so that they ask for more? Here are some ideas.
Choose one of the English series with or without subtitles. It should match the level and age of your students. For homework, students have to watch one of the episodes and:
1) record a summary of the episode;
2) write characteristics of a particular character;
3) answer the questions;
4) write down new and / or interesting vocabulary (including slang) that they hear while watching;
5) interview one of the characters in the film or play the role of this character while a classmate interviews them;
6) discuss with a partner what they liked and what they did not like in the movie;
7) write a review of the film, etc.
Here is our list of the best adult TV series by levels to learn English:
This task works best with teenagers and YL. It is also a good reason to revise what you learned at home and is definitely much more interesting than an individual test.
If you want your students to memorize new verbs, tenses, or new vocabulary better, ask students to revise everything at home and tell them that the next time you will put them together as a team. Teams will answer the questions of the quiz. The winning team receives a prize.
Ask students to select a few English songs for homework and then do the following:
This is a great way to get to know your students better. You will learn about their musical tastes, and you may find something in common. Or maybe they will share a personal story that is associated with a song.
You can also send students short videos to train their listening comprehension or longer podcasts for general listening practice. Both are great ways to help students reach a new level of comprehension. Again, it is important to do this as appropriately as possible and according to their age, interests and level of English.
Developing listening skills
Another fun and meaningful homework task is to ask students to shoot a short video on their phone (up to 2 minutes). If you can do it, then it is a pleasant and useful task. Students only need to shoot and speak, of course in English.
Videos can be about pets, other family members, overviews of the food they have tasted, the working day, places where they live or visit, etc.
In the next lesson, students share their videos with each other and ask questions about what they saw.
Our students can really know a lot and even be experts in many things. Allow them to share their knowledge with everyone. Invite students to prepare 5 must-know facts about their hobbies, and tell about them to their classmates in a creative way.
Have each student present their creative project to the class, and then give everyone five minutes to ask questions.
Set specific requirements, such as speaking in full sentences or having each student ask at least two questions after the presentation. Students will enjoy sharing their hobbies, and they will receive a lot of information to discuss, as well as teach the rest of the class interesting vocabulary.
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We have previously written about this popular approach, also known as blended learning. It is popular in many institutions because it can connect students’ school life with their lives at home.
New information is first introduced through homework, so students work independently on the content such as video, listening or reading. Ideally, they then come to class with some prior knowledge and possibly some questions or ideas that they can share with the class.
This requires students to be well-motivated, so we recommend using this approach only from time to time, but not for every homework assignment.
You should also think about time frames, as well as opportunities to complete tasks for all students. We hope you find our ideas useful in working with your students.