I hear many things on twitter about homework being the most useless waste of time and about it being one of the most useful teaching and learning strategies. Last year I felt that the homework I set was merely ticking a box, and often not checked or marked rigorously enough. Therefore, this year I am really striving to ensure that the homework that is set is useful.
Most schools have a homework policy which states how much homework needs to be set in each subject. For my school, RE needs to set homework fortnightly for KS3 and weekly for KS4.
The main purpose for homework is either to consolidate, extend, revise or research and I am aiming to demonstrate each of these skills with the homework tasks that I have set. I also really like the idea of takeaway homework that is differentiated, however I have chosen to do it a slightly different way.
The homework I have created, which will be set for all classes in all year groups, is in two parts. All students must complete the core homework, and then there is an additional piece of homework which is a more challenging task. I have told my classes that it is ultimately a choice to complete the challenge task, however I expect that all KS4 7-9 pupils should be completing the challenge task at least fortnightly and all other pupils should attempt a challenge task once a half term. Pupils have access to the whole half term of homework at the start of the half term so are able to choose which challenge homework they would like to complete.
My aim for the challenge homework is to target those higher order thinking skills and challenge the most able. I am working towards raising the overall number of 7-9 grades and therefore I think homework could be a great way of adding extra learning hours which are targeted at the most able.
The main tasks in my homework are:
- structured flipped learning where the pupil needs to research something for the lesson ahead
- spaced revision tasks to revisit previously learnt content
- exam technique, either exam questions or tasks which focus on a skill needed to enhance exam technique
I am always trying to make homework more effective and more of a useful way for pupils to spend their time, as well as reducing additional workload of marking. My homework is a work in progress which I aim to refine as each half term passes.