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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers

Four Ways to Encourage Students to Complete Homework
By:J.C. Sprenger

For most students, homework is considered to be an unwanted burden to be avoided at any cost. Other students will embrace the challenge of homework as well as the excitement of learning. While homework encourages independent learning and supports student's improvement in academics, the process of completing homework is often a source of tension between students, parents, and teachers.

To add to the challenge of completing homework, the students are increasingly getting involved with more extracurricular school activities. In the case of smaller schools, the students are involved in every activity under the sun, as opposed to a larger school where there is more competition involved with being selected for extracurricular activities.

The responsibility of completing homework primarily rests on the part of the student; however parents also play an important role in assuring their child completes homework regularly and on time.

Your responsibility as the teacher also plays an important role in encouraging students to complete homework. Here are a few methods to get you started and then use your imagination to build upon some of these ideas.

1. Set a Solid Homework Policy as your Foundation

Clearly communicate your expectations for completing homework to your students and the parents. You can do this by creating a homework policy in writing and then explain it to the students, send it home in a letter to parents, and post it on the classroom website. Create a planner for your students to write down all homework assignments and then require them to get a parent signature next to the assignments. In addition, you can create a homework hotline that provides information on assignments and the dates that they are due.

2. Online Blackboard

If your school district has implemented an online blackboard, post helpful tips on completing homework in the bulletin board section of this application. These tips could include directions that clarify the homework assignment, facts pertaining to the assignments, and suggestions for making homework completion easier, such as doing the difficult assignment before the easier assignments. In addition, create a space where parents and teachers can ask specific questions.

3. Create a Reward System

Create a reward activity on a weekly or monthly basis that recognizes the students for completing a unit of assignments. Reward the students that have completed the assignments and simultaneously provide a working space for the students that need to bring their assignments up-to-date. This will encourage the students that are lagging behind to work harder, and at the same time, reward the students that completed the assignments. Avoid rewarding on a daily basis because your students will learn to expect a reward for everything they accomplish.

4. Create Assignments That Involve the Student's Interests

Students like to pursue their interests, which is a primary reason they tend to ignore homework assignments. Try designing a homework assignment that integrates the lesson material with their hobbies and interests outside of the classroom. Not only will this help you accomplish the goal, it will remind your students of their strengths and help to improve their self-esteem.

J.C. Sprenger has been teaching at a local high school for 6 years as a special education (inclusion) teacher. Before that, he was a university professor in Mexico (10 years) teaching English to Mexican students. He has a B.A. in psychology and a Master's in Education. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, he now makes his home in Brownsville, Texas. He has been a freelance writer for 15 years in newspapers and recently on the Internet.

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