Setting homework in English lessons

I’m trying a new idea. By my own admission, I am notoriously bad at setting homework. It doesn’t help when you read research that points out that its effect on learning and progress is entirely negligible, and when you understand just how much bad homework tasks can impinge on a student’s home-life and get in the way of them doing fun, constructive, developmentally useful things. But ours is not to question the wisdom of Gove and Wilshaw, and it’s also school policy that has to be followed. So, to counter my forgetful approach to homework, and to improve the written literacy of my groups, I am going to set the same topical written homework piece each week for all my groups that they will complete on paper and stick into their exercise books upon completion. The piece will be marked when the book is marked and personalised formative feedback will be given. Students will be expected to act on that formative feedback and also leave their own comment should they feel inclined. The homework task will be displayed for the whole week on its own board (or piece of board) thoughtfully entitled “Homework Board”, and therefore will always be visible, thus reminding me that it needs to be done. My aim is to get them to write this in their planner at the start of each lesson, eradicating the possibility of a mad dash at the end of the lesson meaning it doesn’t get written in. Next week’s task will be “Write a letter to Beyonce persuading her not to mime at concerts”.

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About Andrew Warner

Mostly English teacher, AHT (T&L/literacy/CPD) & bibliophile. Irregular examiner, MTBer, armchair anthropologist & bassist. Fascinated by language & behaviour.

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