Meaningful, manageable and motivational homework

For many years I have trialled many different approaches to homework to create meaningful opportunities outside of the classroom. In many cases, it involved students completing an unfinished task, or applying their knowledge to exam-style questions. It soon became a cycle of chasing students for incomplete homework and an unmanageable workload for marking, and more importantly, providing feedback. Something had to change! This change was a shift in the focus of our homework to students condensing and reflecting on the learning from the week. In my recent Twitter poll, this seems to be how others are approaching homework too, so here is the reasons how and why we have made homework meaningful, manageable and motivational.

The move towards our focus of condense and reflection puts the ownership on students. As a department, we have devoted CPD time to using our homework to embed Roseshine’s Principles of Instruction and shared the importance of retrieval and spaced practice on improving students’ long term memory. This involved sharing the research with students and spending time showing them how to condense and reflect, modelling excellence.

So, how does it look on a weekly basis? At Key Stage 3, all students work on condensing and reflecting through ‘Geog your memory’ sheets, originally created by @jennnnnx, and creating flash cards on a fortnightly cycle.

At Key Stage 4, students create revision clocks that enable them to deliberately practice retrieval practice on a weekly basis.

At Key Stage 5, students work on creating knowledge sketches that allow them to consider the synoptic elements of geography.

Across all three Key Stages, students are immersed in the process of knowledge recall and creating memorable notes that they can use for retrieval. For teachers, the role is to check them for factual accuracy and completion during the week. This has significantly reduced our workload and put the ownership on students.

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