Ideas for giving homework to medium-motivated students
Some students are going to do any homework you give them…and then go watch an English movie before falling asleep to English music.
Some students would rather sleep with a cactus than do the homework you give.
But some students will do just enough to get by. Maybe they’re finishing assignments right before class, but they usually make an effort. Maybe not a big effort, but they do want to learn.
The problem, of course, is that they really don’t enjoy studying English all that much. The best students do. How do we, as teachers, help the students get into studying at home more? Here are some general strategies and specific ideas.
Send them to websites Students who do simple tasks on websites might find themselves using the site for a lot longer. If every night you send them to a new site, they’ll eventually find a site they like. Plus, someday when they think about how they’d like to have better English, they’ll know just where to go to practice.
For example…if they go to the British Council’s site and play a game for homework, they might start playing some more games. If they go to breakingnewsenglish.com to read a news story, they might start reading more stories. (You might even send them to the Stuart Mill English blog and have them find a site they like on their own.)
Make it fun Yes it’s important for students to write essays and do fill-in-the-blank exercises. But it doesn’t need to be the only homework you give.
For example… Have them listen to an English song. Ask them to summarize a movie. Have them do Google image searches for funny vocab words. Tell them they should find the best scene from a movie on YouTube and email you the link.
Personalize it On the first day, pass out a survey and ask each student what they like to do in their free time. Try to give them homework that matches their interests.
For example… Do you have a bunch of sport fanatics? In a travel unit, have them research the best place to play their favorite sport. In a directions unit, have them explain how to play a new sport.
Maybe lots of students in your class enjoy eating. For a get-to-know-you unit, they could make a list of the top ten restaurants to take a new friend. For a unit on cities, they could research food in a different city.
If a bunch of your students like shopping. Ask them to plan outfits (with prices) for a clothing unit. Or tell them to bring in a cool piece of technology and describe how they decided to buy it instead of a similar product.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!