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Using homework - reinforcement? learning? class prep? 
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Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 10:46 am
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Location: Nagano, Japan
Post Using homework - reinforcement? learning? class prep?
How much? How often? and what is it you want students to accomplish via the homework?

Do you give homework as a review and rinforcement of that day's lesson?
Do you give homework that is designed to teach the students new information via the worksheet?
Do you give them class prep. type homework? like having them look up all the new words for tomorrow's lesson or something.

It seems in Japan public school teachers give homework but whenever I ask them about the purpose of the homework (what it is they want the students to get from completing the activity) they look at me like they don't understand the question. Generally, they don't have a response. They just tell me they just want the students to do it or they give me a long list of things the teacher thinks students 'might' learn from the homework.

When I give out homework, it's generally for review of today's lesson or to solidify the information. I like to have the students do the homework verbally. They go through the whole thing taking turns answering the questions and then switching and doing it again.

That way, they do the worksheet once verbally, they heard their partner do it once and finally they go home and actually write it out. So, they will do the worksheet 3 times and then again when they come back the next day to check their work.

I do this with adult classes as well, unless the homework contains a reading passage. (because with a reading passage too much time is wasted waiting for them to read through it.)

I generally give out homework every other lesson.

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Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:32 pm
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 11:33 am
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Location: Niigata
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I have a homework system in my ES. To tell the truth...IT ROCKS!! What started out as 'optional homework' is now one of the main things the teacher likes the kids to receive because it preps the teacher for the next class. When they receive a copy, they for some reason sit down and start doing it right away...I think the hidden picture searches could be the cause of this strange phenomenon...

For some strange reason, the 'homework' is like crack...once you start, it's hard to stop. I mix in non-educational fun things in with the educational stuff to gloss over the 'homework' and 'learning' aspect of it. Yeah, the kids have a lot of fun doing it, but they also learn the order of the alphabet and how to write the uppercase letters PROPERLY. I say 'properly' because Japan has screwed up stroke order of some letters. And, seeing that giving English homework out in public ES is unheard of, I think it's pretty cool the students and teachers love the stuff I make for them.

So to answer your question Mark, I give out homework every class. However, the effectiveness of the homework aspect I'm still working on. BUT, the way I hand out the homework has the teachers and kids going bonkers. To see pictures of this crazy 'handout' style, click --> http://jhsenglipediaproject.com/esp_homework.aspx and scroll down to the big pictures.

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Thu Mar 13, 2008 6:32 pm
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MES-Zealot!

Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:38 am
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Location: Italy
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When I even mention the word "homework" I get groans of despair from my teenager classes (in a private language school). The reason is that they're already snowed under with other homework from regular school - or so they tell me, anyway. On the other hand, both parents and employers here expect compulsory homework to be set regularly.

What I do is try to give a short, motivating and genuinely useful homework every lesson, but don't give anybody a hard time if they haven't had time to do it. It's not an ideal system though, and every now and again a little Herbert who doesn't understand that I'm just trying to please everybody rats me out for making homework optional rather than compulsory.

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Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:18 pm
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Joined: Fri Nov 10, 2006 3:35 pm
Posts: 119
Location: Yamaguchi, Japan
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Homework is a tricky one in schools. Previously as a year level dean I got to field many parent inquiries/complaints about this topic. Everyone has an opinion about what and how much etc generally based on their own experiences of homework at school.
Research shows that it has a small positive effect on student learning but badly set hwk has a significant negative effect on learning.

Homework needs to be: relevant and seen by students to be relevant,
able to be done by the student themselves and valued (as in the teacher actually checks it and comments on it).


Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:58 pm
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Joined: Thu Jan 24, 2008 5:38 am
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Location: Italy
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I can well remember the frustration I felt as a kid by having my time filled up with obviously pointless homework.

Hanging out with your friends, pursuing your own hobbies and reading for pleasure are just a few of the self-directed activities that are an essential part of children's development. It's a terrible shame (and I think very damaging) when most of that gets displaced by academic tasks.

Sure, it's reasonable to expect children to so dome homework, but there should be a strict limit on how much is given, and it should always be as useful and relevant as anything that goes on in the classroom.

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Tue Mar 25, 2008 7:32 am
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I am a primary teacher for almost three years and as all teacher wants, I wanted that my class is very knowledgeable. So with that determination, give my class homework every day. I believe in the benefits of homework. By doing the homework, children learn to cope up with their school activities.


Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:02 am
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Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:58 am
Posts: 10
Post I don't
I don't give any homework at all. We do writing - in class.

For writing, I think the feedback has to be immediate. The same could be said for listening, speaking and reading. Who wants to take home a piece of paper and wonder for a whole week if it's right or wrong? By the time you give them the answers, they've lost interest.


Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:41 am
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Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:11 pm
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Post The Homework Thing
Whether or not assigning homework or what the characteristics (length, purpose, form, frequency) of a homework should be is up greatly to the profile of the class you teach.

With young learners it is better to assign homework no more than a few days a week and to keep the homework short and less demanding. Of course colors and activities should be included in homeworks while working with learners of ages 4-10.

With adolescents you can have longer homeworks and on a daily basis. These should include both revisional and preparational tasks, and as far as possible, these two integrated in the same assignment.

If you are teaching adults you can have projects due for longer terms (weekly, monthly, term projects) beside usual homeworks assigned a few days a week.

Of course the age of the learners alone is not a sufficient factor to determine which way to take. One should consider the language level of the learner, as well.

What matters here is that you, as a teacher, should not confine yourself to a certain method or purpose while asisgning homework. Try to be as flexible and multi-purpose-oriented as possible.

Enjoy your teaching everyone

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Tue Oct 12, 2010 11:11 pm
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