Homework has come under fire the last few years as data surfaced that seemed to support the conclusion that homework is a waste of time. The traditional goals — that homework reinforces school work, provides additional practice on difficult topics, and involves the family — seemed to fall away under the onslaught of naysayers and their numbers.
To many, the shortfalls mean homework should be excised from the education experience. To me, it simply means we teachers must update it — not eliminate it.
If you are committed to the value of homework, here are six suggestions for how to make it more aligned with student education goals:
Make homework relevant
Duke University Professor Harris M. Cooper, says (paraphrased in parts):
Really good homework assignments in subjects such as math and science … highlight skills children use in other areas of their life — sports, games, and everyday tasks like grocery shopping with their parents. A really good teacher is one that takes the skills that [their students] are learning … and uses homework to show them these are the skills they need to enjoy things they do even more
As a teacher, own that. Make homework tie into other parts of a student’s life. After all, isn’t that exactly what education is supposed to do — prepare students for life?