How do you flip your English class? What homework activities do you use to spark lively small group discussions in class?

How do you create lively small group discussions in your English class? What homework do you find most likely to spark student-led conversations? Are you interested in flipping your ESL class so English language learners collect information outside of class and share the information inside the class?

ELT researchers consistently recommend that students talk at least 70% of class time, but many English teachers find it hard to actually achieve this goal. Students want to speak – in the abstract, but both boring materials, limited vocabulary, and sometimes shyness and fear of making mistakes can often inhibit student speaking.

Letting Students Make More Choices

One effective teaching technique I’ve often used is called “Search and Share”. This communicative internet homework activity encourages – actually requires – English students to take an active role in their English classes. The ESL or EFL students find their own videos and newspaper articles that match their interests, summarize the material, and evaluate its quality. Search and Share also allows students to also share more of their personal interests with classmates in a safe, focused manner on chosen themes. By letting students choose some of the class materials, they often become much more interested in participating in both small group and class discussions.

What is Search and Share?

Over the last six years, I have used Search and Share activities as homework in intermediate and advanced high school and university English classes. The popular activity can be used for supplemental speaking exercise or extended into an entire class. Because students often want to present compelling material, they will spend far time reviewing possible videos and articles than I would ever require for homework too – and they become far more familiar with the concepts too.

Students share the information they have collected (job interview advice, review of a favorite film, product information/review, a TED talk, restaurant review, local tourist destination, favorite charity/non-profit, etc). Students begin in small groups of 3-5 students. Everyone presents their “research”, and the other students proceed to ask at least one question each. Each round usually takes 15-20 minutes to finish a search and share in university classrooms.

In my latest book, Compelling Conversations – Japan, you can find Search and Share exercises at the end of each chapters. Click here for a complete set of the “Search and Share” homework worksheets come from Compelling Conversations – Japan: Questions and Quotations for High-Intermediate English Language Learners.
While specially designed for English language learners in Japan, you can easily adapt and deploy the worksheets for EFL classrooms across the globe.

Compelling Conversations – Japan includes a dozen search and share worksheets. Why not test the material in your own English classroom?

Ask more. Know more. Share more.
Create Compelling Conversations.


One comment

  1. In my personal opinion and knowledgde as a student i think and belive that its very important that engligh class homeworks should be leading towards a dissucsion in class, so that every student who couldn’t finish homework can engage in the topic and benefit from the class and the teacher’s knowledge.

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