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Reimagining Homework: 4 Powerful Tactics for Educators in the New Normal

The pandemic caused a massive disruption in the global education system. School and college closures became commonplace due to quarantine and social distancing regulations. The only way for students to continue learning became online classes and lectures.

But the rise of online learning has compelled educators to overhaul existing curricula and teaching practices. Engaging students in a virtual learning environment requires more effort and innovation.

That, in turn, has forced teachers to reconsider their approach to homework.

Contrasting Views on Homework

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects of homework on students’ all-around development have been a topic of debate.

Advocates of homework argue that it helps students improve their understanding of different topics taught in class. Also, it helps students inculcate positive qualities, such as organization, time management, and critical thinking. It even helps instill a sense of responsibility in them.

But if you ask students and their parents, they’ll tell you all about how homework feels like a burden. Failing to complete assignments on time creates feelings of guilt, shame, fear, and anxiety in students.

Working parents also have a hard time staying up to speed with their kids’ homework assignments.

The drawbacks of homework have become more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. In an online classroom setting, giving homework to students meant increasing their screen time. That, in turn, could have a serious impact on their physical and mental health.

Also, the pandemic has been a particularly testing time for students. Homework assignments would only add to the anxiety and uncertainty that’s already plaguing them.

Then there’s the issue of digital inequity among students from different economic classes. Low and middle-income families often lack resources, such as computers and an internet connection, that are necessary for completing assignments at home.

These factors highlight the importance of embracing a new approach to homework. Here are a few tactics that educators can use to make homework assignments more meaningful and relevant:

Highlighting the Value

Good grades can’t be the only motivation for students to complete homework. The biggest problem with traditional assignments is that students don’t understand their benefits. That’s the reason it creates a sense of being burdened or punished.

It is, therefore, important for teachers to help students realize how a particular assignment fits into the overall curriculum. The idea is to emphasize how homework will help them in grasping a particular concept.

That, in turn, requires educators to have a clear idea of why they’ve created a particular assignment.

Balancing the Load

The purpose of homework is to help students continue learning outside the classroom. But if students end up spending all their free time working on assignments, it defeats the primary goal.

The reason homework often feels like a burden is that there’s a lack of coordination between teachers. That, in turn, increases the workload on students and results in overlapping deadlines.

An easy way of eliminating the problem is to use cloud-based shared calendars for every batch. Whenever a teacher assigns homework, they can add a note to the calendar. Also, they can mark the date of submission for the assignment. It’ll provide other teachers with an overview of the current workload on students.

Similarly, teachers can encourage students to use online learning platforms, such as SweetStudy (the new HomeworkMarket), to seek help with their assignments. Platforms like SweetStudy let students connect with online tutors and resolve queries related to various subjects, from math and statistics to history and literature. 

Students even get access to study materials and notes from established universities. These resources can come in handy when solving complex homework assignments. That, in turn, will help students complete their homework on time without feeling burdened. It’s up to teachers to guide students toward the right platforms.

Emphasizing Real-Life Applications

Before assigning any homework, it’s important for educators to consider whether the task can be completed in class. If that’s the case, students would be better off spending their free time on some other activity.

Every homework assignment should focus on helping students learn real-life applications of what they learn in class.

For instance, if students are learning about gender inequality and women empowerment, teachers should look for creative assignments, such as:

  • Interviewing a woman entrepreneur in their local community
  • Writing an essay on the daily struggles of their female family members
  • Interviewing male family members about their views on gender inequality

These assignments shape a student’s worldview, as well as enhance their critical thinking and reasoning abilities. It’s a great way to make homework a more engaging and rewarding experience.

Reinventing the Feedback System

Typically, grades are used as a parameter to evaluate homework assignments. The problem with that approach is that getting a bad grade takes a toll on a student’s self-worth and self-confidence.

That’s why it is important for teachers to provide actionable feedback alongside grades. It’ll prevent students from feeling inferior or incompetent and encourage them to work harder.

Final Takeaways

In a world where our lives are already riddled with stress and anxiety, homework assignments shouldn’t add to a student’s burden. Flexible deadlines and improved coordination between different teachers can go a long way to changing the perception of homework.

It’s just as important for teachers to design new assignments that help students in real life. Also, they must motivate students with clear and constructive feedback.

About the author


Shelly is an avid reader, and the love of reading takes her to content writing eventually. She loves writing on various topics.

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