Homework – our Pupils Speak!

Our Pupil Voice programme allows students to tell us what they think about homework

Following our recent Teaching & Learning survey, the issue of how useful homework can be was flagged up. As a result of this, our Y9 Press Team interviewed a small group of Y8 pupils to find out their opinions. The questions were devised by the Y9 team themselves and their responses have been summarised below:

What do you think of SMHW?

Show My Homework was felt to be good because if a student is absent the day they get a certain assignment they can still check and complete it through SMHW. It is better than the planner and also good to use as a reminder to check homework. However, because SMHW is online it mean some tech issues can occur so the planner is useful to keep your homework secure.

Should we get rid of the planner then?

When we asked if we should get rid of the planner we got a mixed response because some students still use it but some don’t. Some of the arguments for included points about tech issues with SMHW. A reason to keep the planner is because it is a good way to communicate with home to keep a check on good notes and bad notes. It’s also where we can record positive points but it has been suggested for these to be put online too in the future.

Do you like your parents having access to SMHW?

When asked, the children gave a mixed response about whether or not their parents should also have access to their Show My Homework profiles. Some said that their parents don’t look at Show My Homework, others said that they had to show their parents that they had finished their homework in order to be allowed free time.

Do you find your homework challenging enough?

Some thought that homework set before they had looked at that topic can be both good or bad. It allows them to do research so they can be ready for the lesson but if it is too challenging and their parents are unable to help, then they can’t do it until they are back in school. They also said that when homeworks are set, in order to make them easier to complete, resources should be added to the homework like the PowerPoint from the lesson or pdfs.

Do you feel you get too much or too little homework?

The pupils said that they get more now that we are using ‘Show My Homework’ and so they worry they are getting homework just for the sake of it: They said that teachers just set homework because SMHW is there and it’s easier to set it. The students think they get a lot of homework given they’ve been at school all day. The students said they don’t like it when they are set to do worksheets that are repeating work that they’ve already done in the lesson, however they did say that it can be helpful as better revision notes if theirs weren’t very good or if they didn’t make (m)any in class because the teacher was just getting the class to talk about it instead of writing it down. The students said they were annoyed by homeworks that are set for the whole class when it’s only for certain individuals really. They thought it would be good if the teachers could see how much homework an individual student already has so they can decide whether it’s a good idea setting the homework or not.

What are your biggest frustrations with homework?

The pupils didn’t like when they get big ongoing project homeworks from different subjects at the same time and wondered if there was a way teachers could check to avoid clashes like this – maybe ask the class what other projects they are working on? They also didn’t like it when they have hardly any homework in one week and then loads in the next.

What about how long homeworks take?

The groups felt that they would like teachers to adjust the setting on SMHW which says how long a homework should take. Lots of times a homework might say “30 mins” when it was in fact a 5 minute one. To know more accurately how long a homework would take would help them plan (they may put off a homework thinking it is a long one when it is in fact not). It also helps the pupils when teachers set revision homeworks as test reminders (comes up in purple on the calendar).

Which subjects do you get the most homework from?

Students felt that the subjects that set the most homework are Maths and Science. They said that these homeworks don’t take very long to do but they set them very often. Pupils said that science homeworks are normally worksheets however maths is varied.

What are your feelings on group homeworks?

Pupils said they don’t like group homeworks because they find it very difficult to arrange time to meet up and they find that when they are together they find it very hard to focus. They also said that it is very difficult for teachers to judge how much work and effort each person put into the project.

What types of homework do you enjoy the most?

The students said the most enjoyable homeworks are Art homeworks and MyMaths homework. They said they enjoyed Art homework because it is creative and fun and they enjoy MyMaths because if you are stuck you can get help from the online lessons.

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