What are the benefits of modernising homework away from traditional methods in order to make learning a language more enjoyable?

What are the benefits of modernising homework away from traditional methods in order to make learning a language more enjoyable?

Diary submitted by Reanna C, Erasmus+ internship in Valencia

Modern languages is undoubtedly a subject where more unconventional styles of homework play a key role. By modernising the homework I set for my students they are able to revise their English learning in a way that is more familiar to them. This diary will concentrate on the benefits of moving away from traditional homework, as well as how recent technology advances learning. 

Primarily, one benefit of more modern homework whilst teaching EFL is the fact that less traditional styles of teaching allow the students to put the skills they have learnt into practice. The primary goals of homework are to develop skills, track progress and encourage engagement (Riverside Opera Company, 2017). Modern homework can be seen to emphasise these targets as students have more opportunity to rehearse their skills in today’s society. I have attempted to incorporate this move away from traditional methods a lot through the lessons I have taught whilst at TEFL Trainer’s partner school in Valencia. I frequently suggest that my students watch TV programmes, films or Netflix series in English; as well as listening to English radio stations. Programmes and songs are guaranteed ways to absorb more English vocabulary and a higher level of fluency without even realising. Students often come to me now and ask for advice on which series or radio stations I could recommend to them; thus, demonstrating to me how they too are finding this type of homework more fun and effective. Moreover, I have also suggested tandem nights to my students. In Valencia there are a number of Erasmus tandem nights which allow students to speak to natives from other countries and practice the languages they have learnt providing a more enjoyable way of completing speaking homework. This is important because it makes the grammar and vocabulary which is learnt in class appear more realistic as the students are able to see how English is spoken in the world beyond a classroom setting. 

Contemporary homework styles can moreover, be seen as essential due to the modern society we live in today. Nowadays, a lot of career paths are centred around ICT, therefore, by attempting to incorporate modern technology into English homework, I am consequently preparing them for future job opportunities whilst they practice their language skills. Furthermore, at TEFL Trainer’s partner school in Valencia, a lot of my students currently study subjects such as Engineering or Computer Science; therefore, by setting computer-based homework they are able to use skills they already have and probably advance there English learning at a faster speed. Not only are ICT facilities easily accessible for students today, but also ‘capitalise on their motivational potential’ as homework seems less of a chore (Leask, 2013). In order to integrate modern learning into the homework I set my students I have suggested effective sites to learn language such as Linguascope, Duolingo or vocabulary set on Quizlet. This is not only useful for learning new vocabulary, but also revising topics they may not have seen in a while. 

In conclusion, the benefits of modern homework have been clear in my classroom. This is because students are able to recap the knowledge they have absorbed through more enjoyable methods of learning such as watching films or listening to songs. Moreover, by incorporating ICT centred learning I am also preparing my students for later life by developing technology skills whilst they learn English. 

Sources:

Marilyn Leask (2013), Learning to teach Using ICT Ed, book source, (accessed: 09/07/19)

Riverside Opera Company (2017), What Is The Purpose Of Homework?, online source, available from: http://www.riversideoperacompany.org/the-purpose-of-homework-in-a-modern-education-setting/, (accessed: 09/07/19)

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