(Originally posted 8/14/11)
In the last 5 years I have required less and less homework…and instead grade all in-class assigments.
Inspired by research and exhausted by the battles which always seem to accompany homework, I have chosen to actively and clearly offer as little as possible. When I give homework (usually one day per week if it is a 5 day week) I make sure that it is accessible from the Internet and easy to do without help.
My students have NOT learned nor acquired any less. In fact, they spend MORE time outside of class using Spanish. They actively listen to music and watch programs in Spanish or read online in Spanish because it interests them. Yes…even in my little rural district. Parents often report siblings speaking to each other in Spanish at home.
By de-emphasizing homework I have eliminated several things:
a) an ENORMOUS battleground where no one ever won a battle nor a war.
b) frustration over who did it and who didn’t.
d) students entering class a failure before class even starts.
I can also frequently remind students that when we use class time well, I can continue to keep homework to a minimum.
Now, before TPRS, this really didn’t seem possible. What progress students made, they made because of the ‘memorization’ that took place via those assignments. Homework really appeared to make the biggest difference in gains.
With TPRS, those output activities are just a little decorative icing on the cake. A little goes a long way. It may go “against’ the “traditional” approach….but it has been working for my students for over a decade, so I’m sticking with it!
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