5 handy homework hacks for teachers

Homework is a headache for all involved if it’s done wrong - Grainne Hallahan offers advice to make it more effective

Homework help: Five tips to help teachers set effective homework

As a student, I was useless at remembering to do homework.

As a teacher, I wasn’t much better.

I never liked setting homework. I didn’t like collecting it.


Quick read: Are you setting the right kind of homework?

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I didn’t like thinking of the kids stressing out about doing it. And I definitely didn’t like marking it.

If you feel the same, but are obliged to set it, here are some quick and easy hacks to make your homework as stress-free as possible.

Homework help

Spelling tests

Spelling matters in every subject. Yes, every subject (I’m looking at you, maths) and for literacy across the curriculum.

Spelling tests may sound dull, but they have a huge educational benefit and, oddly, students love them if you can get the execution right.

Come with an opinion on…

Is there a more opinionated creature than a child? Asking them to give their opinion on something usually means that even those who are permanently in the possession of canines with an appetite for homework have no problem rocking up and forming an opinion.

Plus, easy marking for you. A group discussion where students share their opinions means you can mark in the lesson. A joy.

Listen to a podcast or watch a video

You can set homework that involves listening to a podcast or watching a video clip on something that relates to your next lesson.

This will only work if you make sure it’s accessible in school, too; not all students will have internet access, and this flipped-learning model works best when all students can easily access it. Try this EEF blog for more tips.

Climb a tree

Those twee homework sheets in which the teacher suggests pupils go outdoors and wade in streams and look at spiderwebs may make your eyes roll skyward like a Year 9 asked to change out of their trainers, but... they’ve got a point.

Even if only half the class venture out of their bedrooms to poke about at the bottom of the garden, that is something. My one caveat would be to use this approach sparingly; these things are novel at first, but can’t be relied upon week after week.

Centralise homework

Whether you’re primary or secondary, there is little point in several teachers all trying to set several different homework tasks – all with the same intentions. Instead, share the planning, and lose the stress.

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