How important is homework? 🍎

Do you set homework to consolidate learning that has taken place in a lesson? Do you use it as an assessment tool ahead of the next lesson? Maybe it’s both, maybe it’s neither. :thinking:

Have you got any tips for homework setting that other tutors might find helpful?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! :books:

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I don’t set homework for every lesson, it depends on the students and the parents. I do find it a useful tool though, as it allows me to assess strengths, weakness and areas of improvement.

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I only set homework if the students/parents ask for some.

If I do set homework, I like to set something short and a bit different for my students, like a riddle or an unusual problem. I think it is a good measure for understanding and hopefully gets them more engaged with the topic

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Similarly to @katywilson6 and @Julia, I only do it if the parents ask for some. In my experience you can never please everyone with the amount of homework that you set because some parents will think it’s too much while others will keep asking for more… :woman_shrugging:

When I do give homework, then I either do it to assess their understanding of the lesson we had or to assess their previous knowledge of the topic to help me tailor the next lesson.

One exception is this one 11 year old student of mine who loves Maths and Harry Potter. She doesn’t get much homework from school these days so she asked me for some extra activities. I prepared a set of different Maths/Harry Potter worksheets for her and she just does these for fun whenever she’s bored! I wish more students were like her! :joy:

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This is an interesting one…

Generally, I do offer homework as I find it really helpful to check my students’ progress and also check the effectiveness of my own teaching (!). I actually state this on my profile so parents know what to expect when they book a session with me.

However, I do take a pretty flexible approach: so, for busy A-Level and GCSE students, I tend to ask if they would like homework (some weeks, they just have too much on!). I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how often they say they would like homework. I think giving them some say over the matter actually encourages them to take ownership and responsibility for their study.

As I often say in session: ‘My homework is there to support, not stress!’ :rofl:

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I have to say, I’m generally giving less homework now than I did when I was doing all face-to-face tutoring, but it also depends greatly on the student.

What I always say to my students is, “If it’s a choice between doing school homework and my homework, do the school homework. I can’t put you in detention!”

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That’s exactly what I say too!

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As I normally teach adults only, I ask them whether they have the time and will to do homework. Sometimes, I set it as a review for structures I have noticed they struggle with; and others I set readings or listenings that will expand their vocabulary in order to then practice it in other areas. Of course, this is specific to language learning more than other subjects.

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Hi - my approach on homework is to put the decision squarely in the hands of the student and their family. I make it very clear that I will mark anything the students sends and often develop questions in the style of boards for A level (history) students. My rules are - wont second mark work marked already, will not under any circumstances help with assessed questions going into school for predicted grades or assessments (but will help generically, technique and topic). Equally its up to the student to send the work - I do not chase them up or set a deadline for completion. I regularly work through examination questions with students on-screen (but see rules above). Finally I want to enable students, give them knowledge, skills and confidence, all those aims can be achieved I believe regardless of homework but its always up to the student, empower them, give them responsibility for their own learning , facilitate don’t dictate. That’s my view for my subject but paths to learning are many, it is what works for you and that student.

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I use homework as I would in a class face to face. With GCSE A Level students I give a mix of memorising vocab, grammar , and thematic reading and writing - reinforcing class learning. With adults it depends on their individual needs. But most have some exercises to practise what we learnt in the lesson.

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Like many others here, the (amount of) homework I give is entirely dependent on the student and parents. Recently, I started teaching new (teenaged) students who said ‘please don’t give us too much homework.’ When I enquired how much would be too much, they said anything over 2 hours. This surprised me because normally, I would start by giving about 10-20 minutes and then see whether they do it and increase/decrease accordingly. Everyone’s so different.

I generally try to vary the homework: sometimes writing, sometimes reading comprehension, sometimes learning words, and sometimes grammar. It’s mostly a continuation of what they have learned in the lesson, so that we can progress through material more efficiently.

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It should be relevant, support their learning and not be too long as many of them have other work for school. I like things they can photograph to “show me” they’ve done.
Probability with lego bricks or paper aeroplanes in the bin for each word they learn to spell. As long as it doesn’t feel like school homework it tends to get done.

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Yes @KathrinS, I think many students think that I’m going to give them mountains of homework! :laughing: I think when they realise that it’s usually only 5 - 20 min (depending on the student and level) they settle into a good weekly routine :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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I teach primary age children and I find that some parents don’t want the extra work and other parents ask for extra work and so I provide it accordingly.

There are occasions when I set homework because it’s necessary for a child to consolidate something before the next lesson but I wouldn’t give it if a parent clearly doesn’t have time to help. Parents need to be on board in order to receive an email with instructions as children often forget what you ask them to do and they may need to print something off. I have some families who don’t own a printer, so that has to be taken into consideration as well.

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True! Mostly, I don’t give much homework, but if they ask for ‘less than 2 hrs’, I will try to give them 1-2 hours and see how they go. Learning a language in one session a week is minimal, so homework can really speed up the process.
I tend to give less homework if the students see me multiple times a week (which is rare).

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It is important but it depends on the student. I remain flexible regarding homework. What I do is to try to do everything during the class instead such as a review of a previous lesson or a small test to make sure we keep up with the lessons.

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I set homework for most lessons regardless of age.

Some of my students like worksheets and so I do drop work off for my local students( strictly through the letterbox).

My 11+ students get a lot of extra work.

Mostly used to consolidate learning.

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Hi everyone.
Setting homework during my language courses is essential prerogative for my students to interact and communicate with me in the language chosen. Progress and good results are, in my advice, only achieved by studying and consolidating what happened during the class at home. Possibly along with what’s taught in the student’s school course. It’s obvious that the home activities I’m setting are always reasonably proportional to what’s already given by their school teachers. Veritably, at times I get the students to tell me what topic they’re focusing on at a particular moment to try and follow/clarify accordingly what they were given as activity by their profs. By doing so everyone’s benefitting, first and foremost the student, who will have enough information to evaluate, compare and better look into any possible issues. Both teachers alike might have one more reason to decide to progress with the syllabus.

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I have never set HW and not seen its benefit, regardless of age and subject. The important thing is to ensure that it lines up with the student’s ambition!

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There are many researches that show that homework has a very small impact in learning, however parents love homework and they think homework has a huge impact in learning, therefore I tend to set homework mainly to keep parents happy.

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