Try to picture this: you have just got home after a very satisfactory lesson (no matter what that was) and you are now ready to put your feet up, listen to some music or socialize. Out of the blue, a dreadful thought springs to mind; you have to do your HOMEWORK! It is a time of sheer sacrifice of all the wonderful things you wanted to do instead, which makes indignation drum into your head.
That scene has been described by the parents of certain children I teach, the latter being perfectly happy with the lesson, but totally reluctant to do any work at home. This is why I have decided to highlight the importance of continuing to study outside the classroom not only in every parents’ meeting I organize, but also in discussions I have with the students themselves.
Great benefits can be derived in doing a reasonable amount of homework. As long as it is related to classroom work in a moderately demanding and stimulating way, it can allow students to:
- Consolidate grammar, vocabulary and complex concepts. A case in point is my latest lesson with an advanced adult group that was about tolerance, prejudices and subconscious discriminatory behaviour; phenomena that cannot be entirely digested unless they are given serious thought in private space.
- Be creative. Homework can be combined with imaginative drawings or even arts and crafts, and creative written expression that can be cultivated through it as well.
- Understand that learning does not stop in the classroom. True learning is not only about attending a lesson; the primary aim of every learner should be to constantly try to build on previously acquired knowledge in any way they desire, such as listening to a podcast or watching a YouTube video in the foreign language.
- Choose which extra activity they want to do – one that suits their tastes or needs. More specifically, teachers can allocate obligatory and optional homework. My experience has shown that, more often than not, students do both. They willingly decide to carry out the additional ‘mission’ simply because they are under no obligation to do so.
Even if all the above does not convince students to do their homework, all of you readers of the iTDI blog did not fail to do yours; that is, read all thought provoking texts on this blog and make a further step towards becoming the teacher you are, as Chuck Sandy says. I am deeply grateful for your time and I certainly welcome any comments you may wish to leave underneath.