Number one for English language teachers

General: setting homework

Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

Tired of setting the usual homework tasks? Here are 18 unusual ideas for "homedo" tasks.


Tired of setting the usual homework tasks? Sick of "Write answers to this exercise" or "Write a story about blah blah blah"? Here are 18 unusual ideas for "homedo" tasks. They might not be appropriate for your class but could inspire you into thinking of other ideas to get students doing things with their English.

  1. Watch a TV advertisement you like in your own language and write an English version of it. Next day in class, rehearse and perform it with your group.

  2. Talk only in English for one full hour this evening – even if no-one in your house understands you!

  3. Cut up 50 small scraps of paper. Walk around your home with the scraps and a pen. Write labels (e.g. 'fridge' 'plug' etc) for as many things as you can and place them on (or next to) the objects....

  4. …. then get a friendly person to walk around rearranging all your labels randomly. Can you put them back in place?

  5. Next day… bring in all your labels and compare them with your colleagues. How many items can you label in class using these?

  6. Search your home for as many items with English on them as you can find (tin labels; instruction leaflets; names on the back of the TV etc.).

  7. Your teacher will give you a joke (or a poem). Learn it by heart.

  8. …. or practice - then record yourself telling it, as well as you can, onto a cassette recorder. Bring the cassette to school next day.

  9. Cook some food (e.g. scones, biscuits etc) using instructions given by the teacher. Bring the results into class for 'marking' by the other students.

  10. Watch 1 minute of an English video tape and replay it till you understand every word.

  11. Your teacher will give you an 'English' tea bag and some instructions. Go home, make a cup of tea and relax following the instructions precisely.

  12. Decide on your favourite English word.

  13. Teach your family an English game (using instructions given to you by the teacher).

  14. Walk for half an hour around your local area and give a running commentary to yourself, as if you were a newsperson giving a live report on what you (or the President or pop star or sports hero) is doing.

  15. Dream in English. Well … at least try falling asleep with English thoughts in your head.

  16. Tune your radio across all the wavelengths till you find an English language programme. Keep listening long enough to work out what the station name is, what country it's from and what the programme is about.

  17. Choose your favourite English language song (on CD or cassette). Bring it in to class (with the lyric sheet if you have it).

  18. Find someone at home whose English is a lower level than yours. Offer them a free half hour lesson… then teach it.

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