Session 318: Modern & Effective Homework Strategies

Following on from the result of the #UKEdChat poll on Twitter, the chat this week focused on: Modern and Effective Homework Strategies.

The questions asked are below, which were released for discussion during the session.

  1. What are the greatest issues for teachers in setting homework?
  2. How do you communicate to parents your expectations of pupils completing homework?
  3. Does you school have a homework policy? How often is it updated?
  4. Homework and technology – How can we ensure all pupils have access to resources?
  5. Research about homework – John Hattie argues that homework in primary has zero effect (Radio 4 link). Do you agree / disagree?
  6. What is the most effective (and positive) homework strategy that you have experienced?


The discussion began with a myriad of issues which teachers face when setting homework. Many chatters have an existential worry about the very notion of homework and its usefulness on learning. Beyond this, some examples of issues included the level of support offered at home (from too much and parents doing the homework for the pupil, or not enough and the pupil being left unsupported when assistance is needed), not getting the homework back or not completed to an appropriate degree, and as with many topics discussed in UKEdChat, lack of time was mentioned by many.

The discussion moved on to expectations of parents. Chat participants mainly focused on the more ‘active’ parents stating that complaints were fore-coming it homework does not go home in its usual slot. There was also a clear difference in how primary and secondary teachers view homework with regular reading, spellings and times tables being a staple of primary homework.

There was a short question about homework policy and how is it agreed on. It seems that homework is a particularly ‘top down’ aspect of schooling and chat participants expressed that they have little or no input to the policy itself, despite the vast difference in how teachers act on their school policy. It seems that most schools adopt a regular homework and allotted amount/time in their policies.

It would seem that in the tech-savvy UKEdChat, the majority of teachers use some form of technology to aid homework setting, scheduling and/or completion, especially at secondary schools. Show My Homework was mentioned by a few UKEdChatters, as was Piota Apps. Most of this technology is used primarily to track the homework and provide a virtual homework diary for pupils and parents to refer to. Less was said about how teachers use it which may be of interest to others (use the comment section at the bottom of this page if you have some insight to share).

Predictably, when asking whether UKEdChat participants agreed with John Hattie’s findings that homework has little impact of learning, there was a lot of disagreement. The main assertion was that homework often has little value, but can have high impact when done well. Naturally, ‘done well’ is in the eye of the beholder. Yet surprisingly few UKEdChatters felt homework had no value in all situations. Many tweeted about the need for targeted homework which is set become it is useful, not just because it is a particular day of the week.

Your task to take home is to see the archive for more examples about how teachers are adapting traditional homework practises to the needs of their pupils.

Featured image: Via Marco Nedermeijer on Flickr under (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat. “Mastery is an unattainable illusion”

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