9 Things to Encourage Your Students to Do Outside the Classroom


December 16, 2012 by k. liz

Last year I wrote on 9 uses for YouTube in the classroom. Tis year I am going to write a few ways to encourage your students to continue learning language outside of the classroom. Most of these are not novel, but just something to think about!

9. Instagram: chances are, your students are already on this picture sharing website. Encourage them to follow English speakers and set tasks where they have to find certain vocabulary words or phrases.

8. Twitter: again, your students are probably already using this. This can be a great way for students to quickly research or find main ideas about a topic. Encourage them to follow English speakers and also see if you can get them to interact with them!

7. IMDB: Encourage students to leave reviews on this website (even if they have watched the movie in their native language.) This pushes the students to write for a real audience that is going to read their writing!

6. Goodreads: This is similar to IMDB, but for the readers in your class.

5. Youtube: I talk about Youtube all the time, I know, but if you can get your students to create an account and subscribe to some channels that talk about topics they are interested in, they will not only receive regular input, but they will also have the opportunity to interact through the comments section.

4. Facebook: Noticing a trend here? Your students are already using social media, push them to use it profitably and with English speakers.

3. Pen pals: This might take a bit more work, as I have noticed, but I think that this can be a hugely beneficial aspect of the language classroom. I have my students communicating with University students in the States, and so far it has been exciting to see how motivated the students are.

2. Language Sites (like LiveMocha or Lang-8): There are quite a few sites online now that incorporate native speakers and language learners. The sites connect the two and the native speaker helps the learner to improve their speaking and writing skills. Get your students involved, make sure that they realize that they are an expert on their own language, and you value that.

1. Making conscious efforts to incorporate English into their lives. As obvious as this seems, for language learners, the process of learning a language is difficult and time-consuming. Sometimes, you just want that safe zone to go to in order to escape the foreign-ness. I speak from experience. But, unless you start realizing that the language is going to touch every part of your life, it’s not going to come very easily. Encourage your students to buy an English book, or listen to English podcasts when they would normally listen to their native language. Challenge them to find one thing that they do in their native language regularly, and change it to English (or whatever the second language is.) It could be reading before bed, reading the paper, listening to music, watching TV, etc. Just make the choice!!

Hope this is helpful for you, both as a language learner, and a language teacher.
Do you have any suggestions? Leave them in the comments below!!


One thought on “9 Things to Encourage Your Students to Do Outside the Classroom

  1. This is a great list, Liz. Try and get them doing what they’re already doing – but in English – and you’re on to a winner!

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