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Day 72: Homework Part III
By Mark Heintz
Nov 25, 2019

Day 72

I posted a few thoughts from students on the use of homework in my class. You can read the post here. I’m going to go through a few of there responses in this post.

 

A drawback that I have experienced personally and probably many other students is the format of the homework. Sometimes, when you must get it done within a certain amount of tries/time period it can be stressful, especially last minute. But this also ties back to time management and responsibility as well.

Is time management a desired outcome of my course? Do I want the checklists to be a means of teaching them responsibility? These two questions are especially important to me because my goal was to develop learners. Learners are people who drive their learning and learn responsibility through the things they are curious about.

There are benefits to having homework in this class. The way this particular class is structured is to take time to cover a lot of the content in one’s own time, while analyzing and applying the content is reserved for in class. This creates a learn at home, applies in school a sort of environment to encourages students to do homework to better apply the concepts in class and on tests.

Again, this comment is true — but I know under these conditions some students will not be successful. I know that some students who cannot/do not complete the homework struggle to analyze the information in a deep way.

…although you could go back and watch the content, it can be difficult to understand the quick videos and the content within them. This also makes the homework lack depth, where going in-depth with topics can often help students understand that. Although the classroom can help take some of the homework more in-depth, not everything is covered in the classroom.

Breadth over depth is a constant complaint of AP classes. There is a struggle to “cover” material but some argue that the covering comes at a cost of going deep into the topics. While we do some deep analysis in class, there is a large degree that remains at the surface level. Which the student goes on to explain, “I often feel it is hard to take notes or absorb content from videos, so the quizzes help.

This student had a proposal for me.

…adding some small documents or other small optional worksheets to the checklists and homework can help improve note-taking, understanding, and applying of the concept in this classroom.

I like the idea of putting in a few documents and making the homework more aligned with deep thinking. It’s just harder to see if the students completed it. This would require me to trust myself, the homework, and the students more than I currently do.

Some benefits is the ability to do work freely and take as many tries as I can to understand it. I can study some units while not work on others if I understand them better.

What did I learn?

I learned that students feel my pain. They struggle as much as I do…with the concept of the homework. They have told me that sometimes the completion score can be unfair. They told me there are questions and videos that are confusing. I need to go back through those. They told me that we could eliminate the homework, but they wouldn’t go in-depth on topics nor read and write as much as we do now.  I feel I connected more with my students in these posts and reminded myself that I am here for them. I’m here to help them as best I can under the conditions we are in. While I have things to work on, I’m continually recognizing the problems and attempting to fix them.

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