In past articles we’ve written about the importance of student feedback for the learning process and how to write killer feedback for your Fluentify students. However, we know that one of the hardest parts of this is actually picking that ‘perfect’ homework activity. These activities are important because they force the student to do some studying outside of your short lessons together and they can help students expand on important skills that they may need to pass their upcoming exam, participate in a business meeting, or check in to their summer destination hotel.
Today we’ll look at some great activities that you can assign your students to make sure that they are getting the most out of your sessions together and making significant improvements with their English.
1. RELEVANT reading comprehension activities
Some of the best activities to send students that you can use both before and during your sessions are reading comp activities. These can be current news or blog articles as well as ESL specific content (although recent research shows that students learn languages better when using real life content that they might find when they need to use their second language).
Remember to keep three important things in mind when selecting a resource:
- Is this resource relevant to the student’s goals and will it help bring them closer to that goal?
- Is the resource level appropriate? Too hard or too easy? We don’t want to overwhelm our students but we also want to make sure to challenge them- keep this important point in mind.
- Is it interesting? If you’re completely bored reading this activity, chances are your student will be too.
When looking for these activities, start with what you read! As you go through your daily routine of reading various online materials, think about what you could use during your sessions. Also, ask your students what kinds of things they usually read- you can try to find the English equivalent.
Some of my go-to websites are:
|The Economist||The Muse||Mashable|
|The New Yorker||Lifehacker||Pop-Up City|
|The Guardian||Vox||Buzzfeed Travel|
2. ENGAGING Listening Comprehension exercises
Because some students may already do a lot of English reading comprehension activities in their daily lives, they might be missing that crucial listening element. Sending short videos for listening comprehension or longer podcasts for general listening practice is a great way to help students take their comprehension to that next level.
Again, it’s important to try and make these activities as pertinent and appropriate as possible.
Some of our favorite video sites are:
TED Talks, Brain Pump, Devour, The Do Lectures and The School of Life
Podcasts are a little more difficult because they are usually longer and very specific- but there are thousands out there. A quick google search will help you find a free podcast that is perfect for your student.
3. APPLICABLE writing homework
While our sessions are focused around speaking, most of our students are already writing often in English and always have some doubts, even if they’ve written the same email a thousand times. Assigning written activities is a great way to have students do some technical English practice, and it can also help you identify weaknesses or gaps they have in their grammar.
This kind of activity is perfect for everyone:
- Business professionals- have them write a standard email, or even a sample contract, based on what they do for their job
- Test takers- you can find hundreds of free writing prompts for all of the English certificate exams (TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge) via Google. Find a good one and send it to your student that you will review together during the session
- Travelers- When people are making accommodation plans, they will often need to write to the B&B or they will have some questions for the hotel. Have them write a sample email using formal English that includes all of their possible questions or concerns
4. EFFECTIVE Grammar Exercises
A little bit of grammar never hurts! And for some of your students, it might be exactly what they want. Whether your lessons revolve around grammar improvement or you want to reinforce some of your advanced student’s skills, find some good grammar exercise websites that you can steal some activities from.
Some sites we’ve listed in past articles are:
Some other great sites are:
Sending your students activities to do outside of their sessions is crucial for their improvement and is something that Fluentify guarantees to its users.
Also, if you are ever having trouble getting your students to stick around, rethink the way you do your follow ups and the way you assign activities- it can make a big difference.
Are there any other resources you guys use that we’ve left out? Please, share them below!