“I done it!”
Is homework helpful? The debate is polarised: Ofsted say it is, whereas the cover of Alfie Kohn’s book speaks for itself – homework doesn’t work:
After lots of experiments, most of which backfired spectacularly, including naively making it voluntary and getting precisely zero pieces of work in, I’ve discovered that the golden rule of getting homework handed in consistently is this: make it an automatic routine.
If it’s automatic, it’s easy. The routine helps them: it’s easy to remember and easy to do. Routine also helps you: it’s easy to check, and easy to track who’s not done it.
If it changes sporadically, it makes your life – and your students’ – hell.
So why make your life and theirs harder than it needs to be?
For instance, if you see a class twice a week in English, Monday is learning spellings, Thursday is writing two paragraphs on the question of the week:
Simply give them 10 words to learn that are tricky to spell and test them next lesson.
Then, get them to write 2 paragraphs on a question you’ve been considering that week, and next week get them to read each other’s answers.
Just make sure that each week, you set the same type of homework on a particular day, due to be handed in on a regular day of the week, until they’ve got it on autopilot.