For the last 3+ years, I’ve been teaching junior and senior high school students. Our role at the school is less teaching grammar (they get enough of that) than it is to provide practice opportunities and exposure to native speakers.
We only see most of the students once a week, so I have been giving thought to things I could provide for more practice outside the classroom. The last thing these teens want, though, is more homework out of the book, so I created an interactive blog. Many teens these days enjoy using the computer and many have their own blogs, so they are familiar with the concept. The idea, therefore, is to take an activity they like (using the computer) to get them to practice something they might not otherwise like (English).
I launched the blog this semester and assigned it as homework to 200 students. They are supposed to try out the activities and write at least 2 things a week. They are not being evaluated on the quality of their writing but their level of participation. I bring simple mistakes to their attention, but try not to discourage participation by too much correcting. That being said, their writing is horrible and I’m doubting whether the hands-off approach is the best path to take.
The URL of the blog is www.CraigsEnglish.com/blog. There are 3 sections: Craig’s, Students and Corporate. You will see the links at the top-right of the page. “Craig’s” is where the majority of the content is. There are podcasts, videos, games and quizzes. “Students” was created by request as some students wanted to start their own posts. “Corporate” was recently added to take the concept of using podcasts and videos but with material more directed toward business people. It is not a commercial endeavor, although I might add Google AdSense at some point to defray the cost of the web hosting service.
I hope you might take a look and provide some feedback. What do you think of the concept? Do you think the activities are useful? How can it be improved? Be gentle!