..Make homework positive

16th March 2007 at 00:00
Homework - what's the point?

It establishes good study habits, independent learning, involves parents... I Causes stress at home and deprives children of time to play or switch off.

It's a learning opportunity; it needn't be all bad.

Give me strength.

Plan it into your normal lessons. Make it relevant by linking it to your current teaching topic. Don't let it end up as a hasty addition at the tail end of a lesson.

Explain the task clearly and give time for it to be done; families can't drop everything for topic research.

But it's all extra work.

Why extra? It's part of the lesson, time to finish an incomplete class task, the chance for a different activity outside the classroom. Pupils can share findings without formal marking. Questionnaires involve family and neighbours, surveys make pupils look at their local areas. Think of it as bringing the home into the classroom.

Help! I have enough problems!

It can generate useful resources: photographs, survey data, practical examples. It's an opportunity to show parents the good things you do in school; it reinforces classwork.

So you think there should be more?

Two to three hours a week for Years 5 and 6, up to 90 minutes for Years 7 to 9.

Not all families are equipped to help with homework; some will actively discourage it. Avoid treating homework as punishment and it could work for you.

But...

No more delaying tactics now - get on with it. It's nearly bedtime

Duncan Grey is author of Getting the Buggers to Learn (Continuum)

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