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Homeworks as an Optimization Tool for EFL Classes

Admin - Dec 04 2015

When preparing a lesson plan for your English language class, keep in mind that you can help your students learn better and faster by simply optimizing class time. One sure way of ensuring this is to assign tasks that are better done at home as–you guessed it–homework. This will free up more time for the class to focus on more fruitful and meaningful activities. This rule goes true for both teachers and students as there are tasks that should be done at work instead of doing them in class.

Some teacher tasks that are better one at home include the following:

  1. Checking the students’ homeworks or projects
  2. Selecting various teaching aids

Meanwhile, the following activities are generally better assigned as student homework:

  1. Detailed reading of a story, article or other texts
  2. Preparatory research related to a scheduled lesson/topic
  3. Memorization of dialogues in short skits or plays
  4. Memorization of short poems
  5. Written practice activities

Benefits of Good Homework Habits

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The advantages of properly assigning home-based tasks go beyond the extra time it grants the class for more exciting and meaningful stuff. Properly implemented, it also develops a sense of responsibility and independence among students. Train learners to achieve goals on their own and they will do wonders in the future.

Another strong advantage that can be gleaned from properly assigned homeworks is that they are excellent platforms for students to put lesson concepts into actual practice in class as well as the outside world. Moreover, once the class settles into the routine of preparing at home and unleashing their new-found knowledge in class, the learning dynamics in the classroom will continually reach new heights.

Determining What’s Best Done at Home and in School

These factors given, EFL educators should never inflexibly categorize tasks as either homework or classwork though. The fact is, some things that are great for performing at home may also be transformed or packaged as good, meaningful activities that are equally excellent in a classroom setting.

Taking Homeworks Further

EFL educator Alex Case suggests a four-pronged approach in gleaning more benefits from properly assigned homeworks. Case calls the approach PPPP, for Presentation Practice Pause Production. In this teaching model, a language teacher initially presents a lesson concept, followed by practice sessions performed by students, a period of reflection and feedback following the sessions, and a session allowing for students to demonstrate their own practical application of the lesson concepts they have learned at home and in class.

For example, EFL or ESL educators can plan lessons in such a way that a new language concept is presented near the end of the class, allowing for students to get introduced to the concept. A follow up homework can then be assigned that help reinforce the concept through written exercises. The following day, the homework can be discussed and various feedback can then be generated. After more practice, the class can then move forward with a new but related concept with the teacher presenting the concept fundamentals at the end of the class. The learning cycle can then be replicated.


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