Tagged With: homework
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?
–this post was sponsored by itslearning, but the opinions are my own.
When I started teaching, homework always involved paper–a worksheet, a poster, a written essay, or something else like that. The problems associated with that approach were endless, including that students couldn’t find the assignment, lost their notes, wrote the assignment down wrong, left their notebook where they weren’t so couldn’t do it, the dog ate it. Even if they did it on a computer, I remember numerous before-school visits from students to use my printer because theirs was broken, out of ink–add your own dilemma to this list. Most of these reasons were true and I did feel for the students, but the end result was always the same: The student didn’t get the benefit of what s/he would have learned from the homework.
It didn’t stop there. Because students couldn’t access school-based materials at home (for reasons like no internet or no digital device), I had to assign homework that could be completed without school resources, by themselves. Group projects were nice, but getting everyone in the same library or house meant parents driving, schedules re-arranged, and time that could have been spent on learning was spent on making arrangements.
It seemed my biggest challenge–as well as my students–was managing workflow.
Thanks to Learning Management Systems, that’s changed.
At some point in your child’s education journey, you’re going to feel the need for tutoring. Riley Patterson, one of our Ask a Tech Teacher team has experience with this. She’s a freelance writer who–in her free time–helps students with their homework. She lives in Illinois with her two-year-old Bridgette (who already knows how to count from one to ten) and a pet dog. Riley wrote a great summary of the critical elements to consider as you make that homework helper decision:
Online tutoring service has become very popular in recent years. The internet and the rapid technological improvement are making the world a little bit smaller and are eliminating barriers to learning. Students can now meet with private tutors, who are maybe from another country, through Skype, Google Hangouts, and other mobile communication applications. Online tutor or homework help companies even have their own website and own application for communication. Tutors, especially online, are now easy to find and easy to engage with. Numbers of online tutorial services are popping up everywhere on the internet these.
However, as parents how and when can you determine if your child needs extra help in their studies? Will you have your child be tutored even though they are doing okay in school? Alternatively, do you wait until their grades are already slipping down? Deciding whether your children need tutoring is a major family decision. Do you have the time to arrange a tutorial session for your child? Do you have the resources of financial capability to pay for the service? Would it really benefit your child? Will it affect their self-esteem? These are some of the questions that you need to answer when coming up when the decision whether or not hire a tutorial service for your child. Nevertheless, once you have made the decision to hire an online tutor, comes now another hurdle: How can you have the assurance that you are engaging the services of a legitimate and qualified tutor? Just like in any other services on the internet, the chances of encountering a scam artist are always there.
By third grade, students can email their homework to you rather than turn in all those pesky hard copies. No more lost work, no more dog-ate-their-homework, no more blaming their mom. They can use their own account or a parents. Once they learn how, it is automatic–and they love doing it this way.Here’s the lesson:
If the lesson plan is blurry, click for a full size alternative.
By third grade, students can email their homework to you rather than turn in all those pesky hard copies. No more lost work, no more dog-ate-their-homework, no more blaming their mom. They can use their own account or a parents. Once they learn how, it is automatic–and they love doing it this way. (more…)
I only get my students 45 minutes a week. That’s not enough time to teach computer basics AND necessary keyboard skills. So, I give homework. It’s 45 minutes a week of homework:
If the lesson plans are blurry, click on them for a full size alternative.