Ten good homework tasks to set



Homework doesn’t always have to be something that a teacher has to mark. Used correctly, it’s the springboard to a great class with students doing most of the work before they even sit down.


1. Go onto youtube and watch something… This is a classic homework. You will find something on youtube that will be relevant to your topic or grammar point. Mr Bean is great, Monty Python are funny for higher levels. For more videos that might be good check out this blog post, also www.teflclips.com is amazing.

2. Think about something – to talk about..I’ve written about ‘thinking homework’ before and you can check that out by clicking here. Setting this kind of homework seems downright strange – but it’s a great skill to teach your students and will definitely help them learn English.

3. Bring something into the classroom – it’s the old show and tell lesson, but in the digital age this could be a picture, a film as well as cuddly teddy. Students bring in an item and then tell the rest of the class about it.

4. Talk to someone in English… Easy to do if you live in an English speaking country. If students can talk to each other then they might be able to find someone online using www.skype.com or a virtual language school like www.languagelab.com

5. Listen to something – I’ve already blogged about using www.spotify.com (click here to read that post) but students could also listen to one of the many brilliant podcast websites out there or even the BBC.

6. Draw something… a bit like going back to school and a little strange for adult learners. Check out Jamie Keddie’s blog for some really good ideas. I got students to draw, among other things, their dream house, their dream car, an invention they would like to create, the perfect school, the perfect jail or the perfect hotel. Confident students who are creative love these tasks but other students might bitterly hate them.

7. Take a photograph of something…I’ve blogged about this already here. Most phones have cameras on them these days and most students have a phone (try getting them to turn them off!) Ask students to take a photo of something that they will show to the rest of the class in the next lesson. It could be something they love, hate, need, an important possession, a person…anything… as long as they can talk about it with the rest of the class.

8. Anecdotes…Little stories, be them amusing, scary or instructional are proven to help language learners. For homework, ask students to find a good annecdote in their language which they can then recount to the rest of the class. There are some great anecdotes at One Stop English, but if you have your own they will be much better

9. Read something… There are lots of great little stories on the internet, the news, short stories,. Comics are also really go for reading online, click here for a list. There are also some good ‘choose your own adventure’ kind of stories at ‘Choice of the Dragon’.

10 Play a video game…Here’s a list of my favourite flash games online. Ask your students to play them and then tell you what they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy about them. Digital play is a fantastic blog that explores using flash games with students in different ways and is well worth a look.

Homework on the Internet for ESOL EFL and ESL students – Part 1 – Watching Films

Provided students have their own computer and the internet or access to one (via a library, internet cafe or study centre), homework set online can be great fun. Watching short films gives them access to language that they can use for loads of diferent activities.

What to watch? Where to watch it?

Youtube.com has endless things to watch and depending what topic or grammar you have covered there is always something you can direct students to.  I’ve made a quick list of some topics and films below, but a quick search will usually uncover something interesting for your students.

Topic or Grammar Area Video and link
Restaurants Mr Bean in the restaurant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jquWO-0VkII 
Health http://www.videojug.com/tag/health-and-wellbeing learn how to be healthy 
Prepositions Weird explanation http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6e9n5_english-grammar-prepositions-time 
Cooking Learn to cook something – http://www.videojug.com/tag/food-and-drink 
History www.history.com loads of films here 

 Mr Bean is great for lower level students.

Monty Python is better for high level students L1/L2 or B1+

 Activities to do whilst/after watching

 1. Watch for general meaning. – ask students simply to watch the video so they can talk about it in the next class. This works best with something that will generate discussion. If its a comedy, ask students why it was or wasn’t funny.

2. Watch for detail. Make a comprehension students can answer while they watch. It doesn’t have to be too detailed.

3. Watch and learn. This works well with www.videojug.com . Ask students to learn how to cook something and explain it to other class members.

4. Watch and review. Ask students to point out things they liked or didn’t like about a short film or sketch. You could even make a checklist to organise their ideas. e.g. What did you think of the actors? etc.

5. Watch and compare. Students watch two clips and decide which one is best and why.

6. Watching music videos.  See my other blog about this.

Great Video Websites

www.google.com – click on the ‘video’ link at the top to search through loads of vids.


www.videojug.com – Great educational site

http://www.dailymotion.com/us – funny stuff

www.history.com – history television shows and clips (short ads play first)