This guide can be used in any class to help generate ideas for homework that students will not dread. The discussion is designed so that student input helps shape future assignments.
Student learning objective
Realize that homework can be a fun extension of class. Come up with creative ideas, take a leadership role and participate in the democratic process.
Teachers should start by thinking about how their homework assignments are designed. Most homework consists of a uniform task assigned to a group of students who, experts agree, all learn differently. It can be a challenge to develop assignments adapted to different learning styles, but it can be rewarding, too. Engage other teachers to get their ideas. A good resource is HomeworkLady.com, maintained by Dr. Cathy Vatterott, associate professor of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
Very few people like to be dictated to, and students are no different. For this reason, consider what kind of explanation you might be able to provide with future homework assignments—for example, why students are being given a particular assignment and how it will help with the overall lesson.
Think about feasible ways that you might give students more control over their assignments. For example, rather than have a quiz about a reading selection to see if the kids read it, ask them to summarize each section and react to the reading. Give them a choice of either writing a summary or drawing a summary. Ask them for creative ideas for learning multiplication tables, which they can then share with the class.
Introducing discussion to students
I want us to figure out together how we can make homework assignments more helpful in this class. Everyone’s opinions matter, because not everyone learns in quite the same way, and what might be a good homework assignment for you might not be great for another person. Let’s be really creative and have a good brainstorm session. I will try my best to use some of your ideas in future homework assignments.
Options for student discussion questions