What are the advantages of modernising homework outside of the classroom to make learning English a lot more entertaining?

Diary submitted by Nicoletta, Valencia, 2020

Developing your English skills through the consumption of popular culture and the means of technology is an incredibly entertaining way for students to upkeep and practice their language abilities that were taught in the classroom. In this reflective diary I will demonstrate the advantages of leaving the traditional and conventional ways of practicing a language outside of a classroom environment and how I tried to implement other ways of revising what had been learnt during class time. 

During my time at the language school in Valencia I would encourage a lot of my students to watch television shows or films on Netflix or other sites on the internet which were accessible for them. Through this way they were able to practice their listening skills and depending on the level and complexity of the material they are absorbing they also had the chance to revise their reading skills by having subtitles along with the show. Through this type of revision students are able to acquire new lexis, have a better understanding of the pronunciation of words and intonation of the language. This can be backed up by the Oxford House Language Courses website “by using the conversations from TV shows on Netflix, which usually contain lots of natural language, you can see the differences quite easily and get rid of lots of small mistakes you might make.

Nowadays, through the development of technology it is only getting easier and easier for language learners to revise and improve on their language abilities through the utilisation of applications such as ‘Tandem’ which matches your interests, hobbies and philosophies in life with new people who speak the language you are wanting to learn. By utilising these kinds of applications, it allows the students to improve on their speaking as well writing skills as there are different features on the app such as video calling, voice notes and texting. In addition, another way to motivate students in practicing language outside the classroom is through following accounts such as ‘ShutupandGo’ on social media sites which promote the learning of different languages  through the use of insider programmes such as their pen pal schemes, setting up meet ups all around the globe and creating entertaining virtual hangouts and parties on their website. By having these types of schemes, it allows students to meet native speakers around their own age and practice English in an enjoyable environment. Additionally, it allows them to learn more practical and  informal uses of language as well as feel less pressure when making mistakes.

This illustrates the power and advantages of the tool of technology especially during these precarious times of the COVID crisis. 

 I was given a lot of positive feedback by students saying that they enjoyed this type of homework as it was not very conventional. I was told it did not feel like a chore when consuming or utilising these different sources and aided to expand their knowledge of speaking, writing, reading and listening aspects of the English language. 

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