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A weblog designed to share Geography resources with students and colleagues

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Homework - The eternal dilemma

Categories: Other
I have been keeping this post in reserve, hoping that by the time I publish it, more students will have completed work like Rachel's above. She has clearly understood the exercise, that is, to present a three frame summary of a farming type citing location, landscape and the farming system. I could have asked the class to do the same thing through a past paper, a list of questions, a note, but thought that they might respond to a creative application of their knowledge. Unfortunately, I think I'll be publishing the post.

In doing so, I'm sharing my experience of homework, home learning, independent learning, call it what you will, and also, I suppose, looking for answers. First of all, I should clarify that I don't believe in homework for the sake of homework. The exercise was a precursor to a lesson that I had planned, which it now looks unlikely that I'll be able to deliver. I have regularly tried to give homework which is a stimulus for future learning rather than a repetition, and in this exercise, the knowledge had to be collected and processed by the students themselves before creating the strip. I have, of course, used past paper revision as exam preparation to ensure that students are prepared for current assessements too. However, I'm looking at a gradebook, where 8 out of 29 students have completed the set homework, 2 out of 19 completed a past paper homework in my other S3 class (until SMT involvement, which then turns homework into a conflict) and 2 S2 classes have given scant return on the most recent home exercise, aimed at raising awareness (and money) for the Japanese Tsunami.

I looked back through some of the homework that has been given to various different year groups. In summary, I feel that it's been varied, achievable and useful. We used wallwisher to source information about a topic prior to starting and also as a revision tool. We have used games, diamond 9 sorting exercises, food labelling, Google Earth, collective mapping to show globalisation, learning walks, photographs and more standard pieces of written homework. Individual learning styles have all been given a chance to shine. Yet, I still find the same problem in terms of submission rates. I still find there to be little appreciation of the role of home learning in the overall. I must also stress that I don't feel that I over set in terms of homework, so I find it even more puzzling when so little is returned. Perhaps I'm just having a good moan, but I would be grateful of any insights, whether from fellow professionals or students. Is there a point to homework? And if so, what am I missing?


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