EducationWorld is pleased to present this professional development resource shared by Dr. Jane Bluestein, an expert in relationship-building, positive school climate and effective instruction.
Any teacher who has ever given out homework has certainly encountered a student the next day saying, “I don’t have my assignment.” Whether pitiful or indifferent, this admission often places us in the unfortunate position of asking why, which puts us in the even more unfortunate position of having to determine whether the student’s excuse is creative (or pathetic) enough to warrant an extension or excusal (or, perhaps just as often, a lecture or punishment).
It took me a woefully long time to break the habit of asking “why,” and it might not have happened unless one of my students told me that a tornado had taken his paper out of his lunchbox! Regardless of your feelings about the value of homework (or its lack thereof), should you decide to give homework, it will be worth your while to develop a policy that eliminates excuses and minimizes stress to you and your students.
A few things to keep in mind:
Here are some of the policies other teachers have shared with me. Try using these strategies to build flexibility into your homework policies and avoid having to ask for (or deal with) excuses:
Discussions about homework can become pretty heated, and both pros and cons are worth considering. I do believe there is a way to find some balance and sanity, a way to accommodate kids’ needs for free time and skill practice. Let’s do our homework to find out what the research says and bring mindfulness—of the demands on kids’ lives and time, as well as their future academic needs—to the choices we make about this important issue.
Also from Dr. Bluestein:
Is Your School Emotionally Safe?
Accommodating Student Sensory Differences
Tips for Positive Teacher-Parent Interaction
The Art of Setting Boundaries
The Beauty of Losing Control
Stressful Student Experiences: What Not to Do
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