I teach mainly adults these days and you know what happens to their faces when you say '...and your homework is...! Ya, you know. But think about the little ones, the kids, if you've ever taught these. They like homework. It's fun.
Remember when you were a kid?
It was fun! Always something cool to do, drawing or making stuff. Sticking and gluing, putting together projects and talking to Mummy and Daddy. And getting praised by the teacher the next day.
Even math was enjoyable because with a little bit of work, erasing, more work, you could easily get to the solution.
Somewhere along the way from childhood to early teens the word homework went and got itself distorted and it just began to signify pain: hard annoying tasks with no tangible value. Your students were teens once too so...
It's not that learning English isn't fun - it really is - it's the word that's the problem. Yuck. Homework.
What am I doing about this? You don't really expect me to twitter on without a suggestion, do you? LOL. You know me, I've been experimenting for over a year now. I've some alternative phrases so don't laugh, they work:
Post task activity
Today, in class, I asked my little group of students at an investment bank "So, guys, what would you like to do for your post-task?"
V told me he is going to watch part 3 of the Taleb interview on CNBC because he didn't get around to doing this yet and M is going to continue developing his map of collocations from our dissection of a Nokia investor relations speech (er, a future blog post, coming soon)
No grumbling. No fuss.
'So what's the plan for this week's PTA?' I ask.
MA at the other bank is going to make a poster of linking words - she's having a bit of trouble keeping them straight and P is going to write up a short email about Chinese investments; G is very busy this week but she might listen to the Business Spotlight podcast while running. H is going to learn about RFID technology via slideshare as he's got a client in this field.
p.s - What do you think? Want to give it a go? (You'll feel a bit strange at first, getting that yucky word out of your active vocabulary - actually I still smirk when I've got a brand new group and I have to explain to them that we're not using the word homework - they do look at me like I'm nuts - but it's working!) Or perhaps you've got an alternative phrase to PTA/ post and pre-task activity?
Or do you just think I've been teaching way too long and finally flipped out? Whichever it is, do let me know your thoughts as I love sharing and learning from you guys too... xK