I don’t like homework.


My students range in levels and ages, but one thing is consistent. Everyone hates homework. Adults are busy, teenagers are unreliable, and small children are busy being small children.


Without daily practice, we lose the knowledge we’ve worked hard to learn. So what to do?

Be honest

Be honest about how much work you will really do outside of the classroom. Be honest about what interests you. Be honest about what you want to learn.

I think most students begin lessons with the best of intentions. Dreams of studying diligently and filling out their vocabulary notebooks. It quickly becomes apparent that homework is an unrealistic goal. Instead of doing the 2 pages of exercises every night like they had hoped becomes nothing. Then they feel guilty for doing nothing, and soon stop coming to lessons.

Instead, it’s better to set realistic goals from the beginning. In the very least I ask my students to reread the material we covered in class.  No exercises, just read. And even this is a lot to ask.

So the more practical approach is to find something that interest my students. TV shows, movies, music, video games, hobbies. We then find a solution together so they can incorporate English into the thing they are already doing in their spare time. They can download the lyrics to their favorite songs and read along.


Download English subtitles to read while they watch movies.


Switch a game over to English language and muddle their way through. I’ve done this several times in Russian out of necessity.

Finally, be honest about what you want to learn. Grammar is important for understanding a language completely and to sound educated. If a student is only looking to understand and be understood, grammar might not be that important. The more time that’s spent on the boring parts of the language might discourage further learning.

It takes time and creativity to come up with homework that will fit a student’s honest needs, but it will be more advantageous for them.


About ltpickens

Private English tutor for children and adults in Krasnodar, Russia.

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