|Rotate different kinds of homework
activities in class
Photograph: Graham Turner
Set homework that is:
doing. Don't make learners go through the motions. If there is
really no appropriate task for them to do on some occasions, then
don't set homework. Explain why.
- Challenging. If homework is so easy
that learners can do it automatically then at best they will
reinforce good habits. Often they will reinforce bad habits. Make the work difficult, but
encourage them to find ways to overcome the difficulties, by working with each
other, using adults as experts or books and websites.
and finite. Some young people take work so seriously that it
expands to fill all the time available. And they may be overwhelmed
by a mass of information. Help them by setting a task that lets
them see a clear structure, where
each stage is manageable and where
there is a definite conclusion. Do
this by narrowing the subject (from the Second World War to the
defence of Stalingrad) or the length of the work (write no more
than 500 words).
- Structured. Give younger or less able
learners a framework and they will surprise you.
kinds of intelligence
Rotate different kinds of activities. If
work must be written, then allow
note-making, or short polished pieces as well as longer reports or
narratives. Encourage pictorial and 3D work. Allow speaking and
listening tasks. In a sustained scheme of work use a range of activities to build to a
particular presentation. For example, in science
- start with research (note-taking,
- move to writing a script for a
presentation (TV documentary broadcast for a young audience)
- conclude with rehearsing for a
performance in school - which could be recorded (on video camera or audio
- leading in turn to a review of how well
the "presenters" have learned the science behind their
homework to your year plan
This seems obvious. But you need not do
it always or mechanically. Sometimes you might set homework that
supports what children have learned previously. At other times, you
can use homework to introduce a new
touch with parents
Let parents know what you are doing and why. Use consultation meetings to discuss your year plan, desired learning outcomes and assessment standards. Explain homework requirements and expectations.
with your colleagues and use training days
Homework can often benefit from
teachers' working together. But the school should manage the time
for this to happen.
If homework tasks need detailed
instructions, then it makes sense to store these somewhere. Paper
copies gather dust, but a file of master copies might be useful.
Put them on a school website for learners to use when they want.