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2 Focus on homework

The way a course begins forms a first impression; first impressions are usually lasting. The first impression you give to the students of the work that is to follow is likely to be remembered, so its a good idea to make homework a part of the very first lesson. It is also important to place the focus on the students taking a greater role in deciding what work they will do outside class. So provide opportunities for them to contribute to the activities they will be asked to do. You can use questionnaires and activities which the students themselves design. The questionnaires should reveal students feelings and preferences about homework tasks, and once you have the results you can plan your course of homework tasks to take these into account. This should motivate them to be more productive concerning homework tasks and more aware of what works for them in terms of studying. The responsibility for setting work is thus shared a little more equally between teacher and student, and a more mature relationship is developed between learner and teacher the learner is not only a receiver but also a giver. The classroom community becomes open to suggestions and the students, as a group, learn to help each other along with themselves. Ultimately the students need to understand what you as a teacher expect from homework, but also (and more importantly) what they can expect to gain from it. Homework should be seen not only as something required by a teacher, but as work that is beneficial for students themselves. In How to be a More Successful Language Learner, J. Rubin an I. Thompson say: unless you (learner) can take charge of your own language learning, you will probably not succeed in mastering the new language. You know yourself best, so you should us your self knowledge to guide your studies If students help you to help them, the learning cycle will be much more productive. 2.1 Setting up homework Aims: to allow students to provide feedback on homework tasks, and say what they found useful and effective. Homework questionnaire 1 What types of homework does your teacher normally ask you to do? Do you usually do your homework? If not, why not? What do you do outside the classroom to help you learn English, for example, keep a vocabulary book, read magazines? List tasks that you would really enjoy doing for homework, for example, watching MTV or watching the news in English Homework questionnaire 2 *

Questionnaire 2 is concerned with works for students. By collecting this information you will be able to set students tasks which will be effective for them as individuals 2.2 My favourite task Aims: to motivate the students by doing activities they enjoy and to give them the fun of doing it all themselves. 2.3 Design a homework task for your group Aims: to give the students the responsibility of creating a homework task for their class 2.4 Skills work Aims: To allow students to bring activities to class that they find motivating and useful. 2.5 Letter to the new learners Aims: to encourage students to analyse their success as language learners and to consider what helps them best when studying. 2.6 Teach someone Aims: To help students to learn through teaching others. 2.7 Homework excuses Aims: To show the students that the teacher knows all of the homework excuses already! 3 Focus on lexis