Last week Adam Lavars (another primary teacher and great friend) and I embarked on a podcasting project. Our aim is to share experiences from the frontline of primary teaching. Sure, we have a passion for ICT in the classroom but we still work in the public system like so many others, and consequently have to complete the myriad of other jobs and roles that come with being a classroom teacher these days. Our weekly podcast will aim to tell how it is through success and failure and everything in between.
We would love you to visit the blog and listen to Episode 1. There are a few ways to follow us on our journey:
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During our first episode we discussed the topic of homework. An often polarising topic. We were trying to work towards an understanding that homework should be something that is relevant, creative and an extension of the students’ learning for life. We are frustrated by the process of handing it out, checking when it is returned and the conversations that arise with students; not about their learning but more the admin side of “where is it?”, “why didn’t you complete it?”
Aaron Davis commented and pointed us to this article by Jason Borton in February this year. A great article and it has helped articulate my thoughts a little more. As well as what I have outlined above, below are my responses to Aaron’s comment and my reflections after reading Jason’s article.
I think we do mean the ‘flipped classroom’ to some degree. I hear what Sam Irwin was talking about too. Indeed, I’ve given much thought to the fact of students taking in information at home, becoming familiar with a concept, doing a tiny bit of immersion before they attend class the next day. But now I throw back to Jason Borton’s post that you mentioned in the comment. What about equity? Lots of kids have access to digital technology at home but not all. And we still have loads of parents that either don’t care about the continuation of homework each week or want traditional sheets each week.
At my school we send home sheets for maths frequently at this stage. This was a regular practice when I started there last year. I feel a little guilty about this as whilst at school we strive to not have a curriculum that is reliant on sheets and piles of photocopying.
Like Jason stated, we are the professionals and should be setting the standard.
One aspect of Jason’s article I wanted to comment on was the statement that “The last thing kids want to do when they get home from a long day at school is sit down for another dose of school and do homework.” My argument would be that if the school’s policy is to send homework home each week, then let’s make it a type of learning that is engaging and motivating for the students. If we could reach that ideal, then we wouldn’t need to even consider kids being stressed about getting ‘another dose of school’ at home because school is just part of their learning for life. And that is what we were trying to get at it in the discussion during Episode 1.