Life experiences make a lot of difference in learning. According to research I did at the University of Atlanta, when students from rural backgrounds come to study in a university located in a city, they perform better compared to secondary school because of the exposure they get from activities they were deprived of earlier. The fundamental idea is to give students a lot of opportunities. For example, ask them to watch a movie and write a review based on that. Encourage them to visit a museum or go for sporting activities.