By Beth Rathe
I assign two types of speaking homework in Speaking and Pronunciation classes.
One type involves students recording on cassette tapes, and I require that they provide text with the tape, so that I know what I'm listening to. For lower level classes, they simply write some sentences on the grammar topic we are covering, and they record a reading of the sentences. For pronunciation classes, and students who are higher levels, they choose some words or a type of grammar to practice and their recording is a short conversation with a real person, in which they try to focus on a few words or phrases in real time. I have found that students find the feedback from their tapes very helpful. Also many of them haven't heard a recording of themselves speaking English, so it can be an eye-opening experience for them in that way too.
For the other type of speaking homework, students are assigned to have a conversation or try to use English at a store or with customer service. Then, they write a journal about what they tried, and what words they learned. Although I'm not hearing them speak, I've found that some students get a lot out of this activity. One of my students in Level 2 changed her cell phone options to English and went through the English-speaking automatic checkout at the grocery store, which were challenges that she was both surprised and proud to have completed successfully.