In this post, I would like to share some ideas how to help students stay in touch with English over the summer break.
This year I have taught a number of 1-1 online classes with students whose curriculum I have designed from scratch. Since I will be taking a 6-week break from online teaching this summer, I decided to leave my students with some personalised plans for summer self-study. There are several reasons behind my decision:
- I don’t want my learners to completely disconnect from English and studying routine they have established with me;
- I want to leave them with something more actionable than just good advice to “not forget to study a little every day”;
- I want them to see language learning as a continuous process that is not limited to meeting with a teacher;
- I want to empower them to take care of their own language progress.
During our last class before the break, I told each of my students they should expect an email from me containing a plan for them to follow. I also promised to check in on their progress twice in these 6 weeks we won’t have classes. They all seemed enthusiastic and eager to keep working on their own and, I admit, I am very curious what is going to come out of it.
Where to start?
1. What and why do you want your student to focus on?
a) grammar practice
f) exam preparation
2. Which topics would they find the most interesting?
This will help you select appropriate texts or videos for your learners.
3. How much time do you want them to spend on English?
Plan the workload accordingly.
4. How do you want to check in on their work?
How should your students submit their work: in writing, through voice recordings, on answer sheets etc.
How to prepare instructions?
I decided to provide my students with a mixture of exercises they can later check on their own (focusing mostly on grammar) as well as tasks that allow more independence and creativity.
I chose to set weekly Self-study Challenges that my student would be able to submit in writing / mp3 recordings and place their work in a special folder created for them in our shared Google Drive space. I am planning to revise my students’ work before we start the next semester.
Below, you will find an example of a self-study worksheet I prepared for one of my students:
My idea poses a number of challenges. Depending on the number of students you teach, it might be very hard to come up with personalised plans for each of them.
What is more, in order for this idea to work, your students will hopefully be familiar with reliable sources of quality videos and reading texts because you have been providing them with such information throughout the year. If you chose to rely on authentic materials, it is all up to your students where they decide to look for interesting content.
In case you need some last-minute life-savers, here’s a list of great reading/listening material for English learners:
Both my students and I seem to have high hopes for this project which is meant as something more than just a vague revision/extension activity. I am aware that not all my students will end up completing all the activities but as much as I want to encourage them to work on English on their own, it is ultimately their own responsibility.
Over to you
Do you make sure students stay in touch with English learnign during summer breaks? Are there any activities you think work particularly well as self-study exercises? Leave a comment!