Setting Homework for Adult Learners

Homework isn’t just for school children. Everyone can benefit from it, no matter the age. Read on for some tips on how to effectively set homework for adults.

The benefits of homework are numerous, from consolidating knowledge, through giving students time to work through things at their own pace, to encouraging students to use English outside of the classroom. When managed well, adults will gain as much, if not more, from set homework as school pupils.

To find out how one English teacher used homework to elicit more enthusiasm and participation from his adult students, check out this inspiring blog post.


Adult learners generally have strong intrinsic motivation when it comes to language learning. They have their personal reasons for wanting to learn the language and are keen to succeed. You can use homework to help your students to meet their language goals. When setting the homework, explain to the students, what skills or language points they will practice the task.


When deciding what and how much to set for homework, keep in mind that your adult students are likely to be a busy individual with jobs, families and other commitments. If you plan to set homework several times each weak opt for shorter activities requiring little time to complete. If you want to set longer homework, consider giving your student more time to turn it in.


Just like children and teenagers, adults like variety. Alternate the tasks you set as homework and do not be afraid to set homework that is creative or unconventional. Worksheets and writing tasks can be great, but why not also ask your students to record an interview with a friend in English, set a reading assignment, ask them to watch a short film or listen to a podcast in English.

Homework set, but not returned

Even if you set homework that is fun, relevant and engaging, you are likely to find that for various, valid reasons some your students will not do their homework. It is therefore important to not rely on students completing homework for your lesson to work. Plan your lessons in such a way that the students who did not do the homework can still fully participate in the classroom activities.


Do not neglect to give your students feedback on the homework they completed. Whether it is short verbal feedback or a detailed, long written comment, providing your students with feedback for homework is very important. Aim for your feedback to help your students know what went well and what they need to work on to improve their English.

Please share your thoughts and tips for setting homework for adults with us on Facebook or Twitter.

About the Author

Aleks Kaye completed a blended CELTA course while working full-time in Student Support at a university in the UK. She is currently exploring Canada with her husband David and blogging about it at

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