17 October 2012

Connecting Homework


Does the word "homework" make your students feel like this?

Personally speaking, I don't give out much homework as my students already have such long busy days. As they are taking their degrees in a 2nd language, evening time is a time for family quality time as well as recovering from the constant switching of L1 to L2 back to L1. Anyone who has grown up studying in different languages is able to understand how tiring it can be to study at higher education in a second or third language. 

Nevertheless, homework does serve a purpose. Mostly to encourage revisions and to check what perhaps was not so clear in class. 

Homework may also be another way to connect with learners. One constantly reads how connecting with others is an important trait/characteristic of good leadership, and though educators don't always perceive themselves as "leaders" per se, they are "leaders" of their classes. 

Within that line of thought, these are two suggestions which may contribute to connecting learners to their class and teacher, through homework tasks. 

Should students have a mobile phone which takes pictures (and most of them do), they can take a picture with their mobile phone or iPad of their favourite place at school/learning institution. The teacher can then collect all the photos and create a slide show, with the class guessing whose picture it is. When the correct student is identified, he/she can briefly explain why that place is his/her favourite place and how he/she feels there. 

The same task can be set for homework, but instead, the learner uses the mobile or iPad to record his/her answers and then uploads both the image and recording to their blog. 

Homework is now centred on the individual, then shared, fostering connections among the class members. 

Another characteristic of homework tasks is the time to reflect. Learners need time to think through tasks which may not always be possible to do in class - so much is always going on!

If students have a persuasive essay or debate coming up, Persuasion Map offers simple, practical guidelines to focus. 

After going through all the steps, the learner can print or email their essay/debate map and revise their arguments. 



What other homework tasks can you suggest for learners to connect with their learning and others?

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