Homework is an integral part of the learning process. However, most students are not eager to do homework since it takes time and might be boring. In this article, we will present some principles of inspiring homework and practical ideas that will make your students love homework.

Main principles:

  • Let students know what the goals for a particular assignment are (practising grammar point, listening skills, etc) and explain how this homework will help students achieve their personal goals in studying English. 
  • Keep the homework practical. Think of realistic ways students will have to use English in the real world.
  •  Let students be creative. Give students the opportunity to choose what type of homework they would like to have. Sometimes, they may come up with very creative ideas. Once I assigned my students to make a summary of their favourite movie to the class. One of them painted a picture presenting the main theme of the movie and it was very impressive.

Some creative tasks for homework:

  1. Passing a story

Let your students work in a team to complete homework. I use this trick as students feel responsible for their “colleagues”’ success and have to do their homework if they don’t want to let them down. How does it work? The teacher makes up a story / takes it from the workbook and writes it out for one student or simply tells him/her the story. Then that student has to use the studied vocabulary or grammar and pass the story to the other student. You can ask students to make a recording and send to each other or write in any messenger. The process is continued up to the point when all students know the story. The following day, give students a questionnaire to see how much correct information was passed over.  

  1.  Scavenger Hunt

Give students a list of words. Think of a descriptive list connected to the topic you have studied e.g. “find something beautiful, something quiet”, etc. Students find items they think fit the description and take the photo of them. The next lesson,  students work in pairs, show the pictures they took for each item on the list and explain why they have taken those pictures for those items.

  1. Surveys

You can send your students to a coffee shop, restaurant or a café. Depending on their level and the skill you want to practice you may assign the following tasks:

  • Practice a conversation with a server or a cashier, order something. Find out how many people in these places can understand/speak English. 
  • Write a restaurant review or menu review for a class food magazine. 

You can practice this homework while covering restaurant language or practising some functional language (ask questions, write reviews, summarize).

  1. Report on their hobby

Have each student choose something they are passionate about and present top must-know facts about that subject. They might make a movie, create a poster or brochure, write a song, etc. The students present their projects to the class and other students ask questions. Students will adore this homework since it is personalized and allows them to get some great speaking, listening as well as teaching the rest of the class some interesting vocabulary.

  1. People Watching

People watching is one of the enjoyable things all people like. Students can watch people at the restaurant, in a park, mall, public transport, etc. Connect language studied in the lesson to this activity. For example, ask to:

  • Write descriptions of the people you’ve seen today;
  • Think of professions for those people;
  • Make deductions about their working day/family/home/hobby etc. 
  1. Shopping experience

The teacher sends students out to the store for these fun assignments.

  • Have students  practice telling a salesperson what they are looking for and get directions to that item in the store.
  • Have students take pictures of items they see and then use them to create a catalogue about the products. Then copy and distribute the catalogue to students. Each student is given one hundred dollars to spend on items from the catalogues (except their own) and see who in the class has the best sales.

Follow the link  for more ideas on inspiring homework.

When you assign homework and include some creative elements into it, you will see how students enjoy doing those activities and benefit from them in terms of language skills.

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