How can we make Homework more effective?

How we make Homework more effective? Frawley, Jimmy

by Jimmy Frawley

Homework is a subject that all stakeholders in a school have strong opinions on and there is much evidence (John Hattie, Sutton Trust, etc.) to suggest that it has minimal impact on student attainment. More recent research (Siraj &Taggart 2014) sees homework as a hallmark of excellent classroom practitioners, with the caveat that it “was more meaningful and more clearly linked to what the children were learning”

This was an area that I chose to base my Research Project on, specifically focusing on the type of homework task and the impact on student engagement. I thought I would use this blog entry to briefly highlight a few of homework tasks/devices I came across during my research and provide links to sites that explore these in more detail.

The Flipped Classroom

flipped classroom

One useful website, that I’m sure many of you know and use, that works well for the flipped classroom is Kahn Academy which has a raft instruction videos that students can access to consolidate learned methods (works particularly well for maths), as a review of a topic or to introduce new concepts. BrainPop is another useful resource (great for Primary Science) to support the flipped classroom.

 ‘Show Me’ Homework tasks

This type of homework has been used by a number of Primary classes this year to great effect. The homework gives the students the opportunity to present their learning in a wide range of ways – the student choose. Examples include written questions, sentences, calculatons, a poster, photos, drawings, labels and videos. Some questions/stimuli for this homework:

Show me what you would like to find out about ‘Our World’.

Show me what you know about number bonds to 10.

Show me what you know about adjectives.

Show me what you know about shapes.

Show me what you know about the different performers in the circus.

Alternatives to ‘traditional homework’

The chart below (taken from ‘Fires in the Mind’ by Kathleen Cushman, excerpt of homework chapter) offers some interesting alternatives to ‘traditional’ tasks.

alternatives to homework

Longer Style Project Tasks

This type of project has been used to great effect in both and Primary and Secondary. The students have a choice of a selection of tasks to complete. This has especially worked well in Primary as a tool further increase student engagement in IPC topics and usually includes a time to present this learning to their peers and parents as part of the ‘Exit Point’.

Further Reading on this topic:

Headguruteacher blog

Rethinking Homework – Alfie Kohn

Homework: To set, or not to set…

Research Spotlight on Homework

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