English language tasks for different levels that your students will enjoy

Homework ideas for English learners

Homework ideas for English learners

02.09.2022

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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.

Watch TV series and shows

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:

A1 – A2 Elementary

  • Extra English
  • The Simpsons
  • Peppa Pig
  • Sarah & Duck
  • Katie Morag
  • Friends
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Desperate Housewives

B1 – B2 Intermediate

  • Sex Education
  • The Misfits
  • The Office
  • Game of Thrones
  • House of Cards
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • Doctor Who
  • Black Mirror
  • Vikings
  • The Crown
  • Broadchurch

C1 – C2 Advanced

  • Black Adder
  • Peaky Blinders
  • Suits
  • Sherlock
  • A Downton Abbey
  • Happy Valley
  • Fleabag
  • After Life

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Prepare for the test

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.

Listen

Ask students to select a few English songs for homework and then do the following:

  • mime intonation and rhythm;
  • pay attention to slang and cultural features;
  • draw what feelings the music evokes in them and share with the class;
  • share their favourite lyrics and what a particular song means to them.

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.

Some of our favorite websites include TED Talks, The Do Lectures and The School of Life Podcasts are a little trickier because they are usually longer and very specific, but there are thousands of them. A quick Google search will help you find a free podcast that’s perfect for your students.

Developing listening skills

Create videos

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.

Share expertise

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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Flipped Classroom

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.

Distance learning. Maintaining student discipline and interest

Skills required of teachers

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.

Article authors & editors
  • Yulia Chorna

    Yulia Chorna

    Author

    DELTA Module 1, CELTA certified teacher of General & Business English

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