It’s that simple.
Learning a language is a huge task that needs time, energy, and motivation. Students are not going to be able to learn English from being in your lesson for two hours a week.
So your job as a teacher is two-fold:
You have to prioritise what you do in that valuable sliver of time that you share with them.
You have to engage and motivate them enough to do all the other stuff in their own time.
Prioritise Classroom Learning
Your one simple rule of thumb should be ‘if they can do it at home, then do it at home’. By definition, work that they can’t do themselves is more difficult to practice, and so should be done in the classroom.
A good example of this is learning new vocabulary vs. fluency practice. Vocabulary is the ‘heavy lifting’ of language learning – there’s so much to learn that focusing on ‘teaching’ five new words a lesson seems ridiculous. Ask students to learn at home, then practice using those words in context in the lesson when they’re able to interact with their peers and you.
Classroom time is sacred. From now on, make it a haven for interaction, connection, feedback, and helping students with what they’re struggling with.