By Teachers, For Teachers
Can you imagine a world where students can’t wait to get home from school to do their homework? As you laugh at that notion, just know that it can happen. With increased technology in education, coupled with student interest and study buddies, there is a way to learn how to motivate students to enjoy doing their homework. Here’s how.
The key to homework success is simple; make it fun, interesting, and relevant. If you want them to enjoy their homework, incorporate what they know. Find out how to motivate students by taking a poll. If you find that the majority of your class is into sports, then create a way to integrate sports into their homework. Studies have shown that when teachers merge student interest into their homework assignments, students are more likely complete the assignment. Appealing to student interest is a great motivator that keeps them engaged, as well as enjoying their work.
The purpose of homework is to practice a concept learned, or extend what they have just learned. The duration and the frequency is dependent upon the purpose for the homework assignment. The National PTA recommends 10-20 minutes of homework starting in 1st grade, then add 10 minutes for every grade thereafter, capping at 120 minutes for a student in 12th grade. It’s going to be very tough to get a senior in high school to enjoy 120 minutes of homework. Consistent studies have suggested that shorter more frequent homework assignments tend to be more effective. Students are more likely to complete these assignments, which in turn make them more enjoyable.
The concept of a study buddy isn’t something new, it’s actually been around for a very long time. There is an abundance of research that proves group assignments can be highly effective. Have you ever seen a group of kids gathered around the lunch table or in the hallway all huddled together? Students love being with their peers, and they thrive when they get the opportunity to be together. If you really want your students to love doing homework, create group homework assignments, or connect them with a study buddy to complete the task together.
Embrace the use of new technologies by giving students the opportunity to do their homework online. Studies show that students thrive when given computer-based homework assignments. Websites such as Kidblog.org, Smartkiddies.com, and Brainly.com are fun, interactive ways to keep students engaged, as well as motivate them to do their homework. Brainly is a network where students can find peer support and ask and answer questions, while the other two sites offer student rewards and certificates for homework completion.
Students get bored if they have to do the same old homework assignment day in and day out. It’s hard to assign homework that meets the interests of all students, so to increase the chances that your students will actually enjoy doing their homework, try mixing it up by varying assignments. To peak student interest and keep assignments fresh try changing your usual style of homework. For example, if students are used to writing out the definitions for new words, mix it up by having students create a symbolic representation of the word instead.
Give homework assignments that make learning personal. Students are more likely to enjoy and get into their homework if it means something to them. If students are learning about their community, or other cultures, create a way for them to relate their own lives with that of what they are learning. These types of assignments helps students learn to appreciate what they are learning about.
Homework can improve student learning, and help students develop habits that will bring them far beyond the classroom. By appealing to their interests and utilizing technology, we can motivate our students to not only do their homework, but actually like it.
How do you motivate students to love homework? Do you have any tricks or tips that you would like to share? Feel free to leave a comment in the section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.