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Neurologist Shares 'The Science of Homework,' Offers Tips to Teachers

Neurologist Shares 'The Science of Homework', Offers Tips to Teachers

When it comes to homework, there may be some things that teachers need to know about their students' brains.

So says Judy Willis, neurologist, in an article on TheGuardian.com. In the article, Willis looks at what kind of homework helps students at different stages of development and provides tips for teachers in three areas: online learning games, the importance of homework, and how much time homework should take. 

"During early school years, for example, the brain is focused on getting to grips with the world around us," Willis wrote. "Memories and understanding grow when new information can be linked to things we already know. Homework that helps with this recognition can build literacy and numeracy skills. When students reach adolescence, they become more independent and self-directed. There is shift away from rote memorization and single, correct responses. Learning goals are more likely to focus on reading for content and comprehension, revising, report writing, solving problems, investigating and independent or group work. Well designed homework provides multiple ways for students to engage with what they are learning. They will then be able to use the facts they acquire to be creative and solve problems in class."

Willis looks at when teachers can use online learning games for homework. She wrote that most teachers "work hard to differentiate homework based on skill level, but with each new topic there may not be time to prepare individual tasks."

"Online games, in which pupils learn and test their factual knowledge, can be helpful when homework goals are about building a foundation of knowledge," Willis wrote. "This tends to be in the early years of school."

Computer-assisted learning cannot replace good teaching: it is only from teachers that students can experience rich interactive learning and build conceptual understanding. But using online learning games for homework tasks lets students gain the necessary level of factual knowledge and learn procedures that need to be memorized. This allows them to then progress in class to the richer subject content. Relieving teachers of essentially being drill directors means students get more class time to understand concepts and apply what they have learned.

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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