Thursday, May 4, 2017

Should Students Assign Their Own Homework?

Study, Books, Learn, Read, Education  I am aware there is a raging debate out there on whether homework is effective.  I've been in classes where they've said yes it is if you only assign 10 problems and supply the answers. Other teachers are saying it should never be assigned but I stumbled across this article asking "Should students assign their own homework?"

In the past I have assigned only 10 problems based on previously taught material.  I posted the worked out problems so students could copy is they desired.  I've never been one to assign 27 of the same problem.

This article presents the idea of helping students become active in their pursuit of learning.  Taking a step further in understanding that learning is not restricted only to the classroom.  The idea is that students learn they need to make a personal commitment to learn both in school and at home. 

Homework for a student should be designed to help clarify areas they do not understand or is an area they are interested in. If they assign themselves the homework, they practicing self-motivation, preparation, and persistence while evaluating personal growth.

We know you cannot just tell students to assign themselves homework.  They have to be taught how to determine what problems to assign.  In addition, students must see learning as active. So here are some ways to accomplish it.

1. Sprinkle questions throughout the lesson designed to encourage reflection and determine points of learning.

2. Ask questions which can slow down the learning process long enough for students to reflect.

3. Talk to parents to get them on board with the idea.

I think I might take this a step further and use journaling as a way to help identify areas where students still have confusion or have an area they want to explore further.  Once this is done, students then look for problems that cover these areas for the assignment. 

However, before doing this, I think it would be worth taking time to explain why certain problems are chosen as homework problems.  Take time to discuss the best way to choose problems that help clarify.  Perhaps even allow students to use an app or program which shows the steps and have them explain what is going on for deeper understanding.

Is it possible to have students assign their own homework?  It might be but it takes teaching them how to do this so they can make good choices for homework.

Let me know what you think of this?  I'm curious because my first instinct is a resounding no but its so radical, I really don't know.