Homework, how do you feel when you hear that word? Does it send you back to being a kid at school again and the inward groan when homework is set? Do you think about your own children and the help they’ll need this evening when they sit down to get it done? Or is it your Breadies and what you’re going to be setting them today?

Managing to balance homework for your students as an online ESL teacher can have its challenges – students in China already face a mountain of homework, extra lessons and extracurricular they must do when they get home. Adding more homework on the pile seems too much. On the other hand, homework is an important part of practise to help Breadies not only memorise the new language acquisition, but to get them confident with different sounds, sentence structures and letters out loud and on paper.

In this first Midweek Refresh, we’ll be taking a look at how to upload homework, what you can use for homework, and how to make it level and time appropriate for your Breadies.

So how to upload homework?

Uploading homework is simple! When writing reviews, just click on the upload button where it says ‘homework’ and upload whatever files you choose. Most formats are accepted and you can upload multiple files. After these are uploaded, simply finish the review and the homework will be passed on.

Okay great. But what about homework content?

As we have a range of different courses, level and age ranges, homework varies greatly across the board. We’ve broken it down for you. The most important element is that homework should not be overly time consuming or overly complicated. As Breadies do often have very busy schedules, the IQBar homework should take around 10/15 minutes and help keep the ideas fresh between sessions.

One thing to be wary of is copyright. If you’re using resources found online, make sure that you have permission to share them. This is particularly the case with images, cartoons and characters that are well known. If in doubt, leave them out!

We have an editable homework template that you can find on Teams to help you quickly put something professional and fun!

Picaro or Phonics, finished or unfinished.

Hurrah! For most Picaro sessions you do not need to add any homework. If you complete the Picaro Powerpoint for the day then you don’t need to worry. The homework at the end of the lesson will be sent through to your Bready to complete.

If, however, your Bready hasn’t finished the session, whether this be because of pace or struggling with certain topics, you can simply screenshot an area of the presentation you would like the Bready to go over for homework and attach it to the review!

If you would like to give your Bready something personal, such as a question to answer, a small game, a few letters to pronounce, you can create a quick Powerpoint slide to add to the review. This could be as simple as a slide with ‘Describe four members of your family using vocabulary studied today.’

Remember to keep it age appropriate when considering content and difficulty! For young Breadies doing the phonics course, keep it really simple. Ask Breadies (or their parents) to practise learning and speaking three letters. Something like the whole alphabet or using a sentence with three of the letters is too much, thus proving ineffective.

This also relates to images and content. If you’ve got a slightly older Bready doing exam help or CGE sessions, check any written activities you pass on or cartoons for anything that may be above their level.

CGE Sessions

Moving on then to the CGE sessions, these don’t come with premade homework so it is down to your creativity and judgement to assess what would be best.

Homework, as with Picaro, should be focused on the content from the session and any areas that the Bready wasn’t 100% comfortable with. If you were looking at different types of transport for example, get your Bready to practise memorising four of them. If your Bready is looking at different landscapes, ask them to write down three sentences describing different landscapes in their country.

Homework also doesn’t need to be boring! If your Bready seems like they are interested in something creative, engage different parts of the brain by incorporating colour, art, music or photography! They may opt for writing, but recent studies have shown a link between drawing pictures and memory.

There are lots of resources currently on our shared one drive which can be used for ideas! A number of our Buddies have created and shared their own homemade homework tasks which may come in useful for you.

Exam Prep sessions

Exams mean papers, and papers means an abundance of past papers! There are two different types of homework you can set for your Bready if they are doing exam prep.

First, importantly always send your Bready the page(s) you had been studying that session! Breadies do not have access to the book so to help them remember what had been covered, send over the PDF pages relevant to that session.

For homework, the Bready may have specified past papers, in which case you can find one in the resources section of the website, send it through, and then mark it in the next session. In the review keep note of what papers have been done so far so nothing is repeated.

If your Bready would like something different to past papers, use one of the pages in the book as homework, or develop your own set of related activities. When using the book for homework, set a page or particular task depending on the ability of your Bready which you can go over with during the next lesson.

Adult Sessions

If you have an adult learner, chances are they don’t have time for homework so it’s company policy not to send homework to them. You can upload the pages worked on so they can look over it. Some adult learners however request homework. If this is the case, find out what they would like to do and let them take the lead. It may be finding them an article to read which can be discussed in the next session, it may be memorising a few words. Have some fun!

Blog round up:

  • Homework shouldn’t need to be difficult or time consuming
  • Make sure everything is age and level appropriate
  • Be careful of copyright issues
  • You can upload multiple files
  • If doing exam prep sessions, send the pages you had been working on
  • Make sure all images, worksheets and tasks are high quality!
  • Look to the one drive and soon the Teams tab for resources.

And there you have it! Hopefully this has been helpful! If you’ve got anything you’d like to add, simply comment below or drop us a message at socialmedia@iqbar.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you J