I recently did a soapbox posting about using a contemporary event with great popular appeal as the subject of a lesson at my English conversation school 英会話, Smith’s School of English, Kawanishi スミス英会話川西校. This made for a really successful and very popular lesson. My lesson featuring the (not quite total) success of Japanese figure skater Mao Asada at the recent Vancouver Winter Olympics, was made as part of a TOEIC lesson project that I have been working on with Al, franchisee at Smith’s School of English, Okamoto スミス英会話岡本校.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the students loved this lesson and it produced really lively and enjoyable lessons. But, as I used this lesson more over time, I started giving the paperwork to students the week before and suggesting that they look at it at home. The result was amazing. All the students at least attempted the lesson as homework, and several completed it. In the past, I have found that students seldom do homework when I set it; most live very busy lives. But this lesson really stimulated them, and they made the time to do the exercise. Al has told me that his students reacted similarly.
I think there is an important lesson here. If we provide students with exercises that are of current interest to them they will exert much more effort in their studies. I think the reason is twofold. Firstly, they enjoy dealing with subjects that excite them, but in addition, they know what the story is about. Therefore they find it easier to do the exercise, which gives them a greater sense of achievement and satisfaction. I know that Al and I are going to continue to provide our students with exercises of this kind. (What a lot of phrases I’ve used).