Generally, most primary school and secondary school pupils will have homework to do throughout the week. As you’ll probably know, most students hate homework, but it’s an important part of their education and the right homework can be a useful teaching tool.

It’s often up to the teacher whether they set homework or not. They also have some control over how much homework they give their students. The most important decision they have to make is the type of homework they give their students.

In this article, Superprof is looking at the types of homework you can give your students and how they can help them to learn.

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Training Homework

When students sit down to do their homework, it’s rarely an enjoyable experience despite it being an important part of their education. Homework can be a useful tool for teaching students even once they’ve left school for the day. Of course, this isn’t a way for teachers to get out of having to teach their students.

What is training homework?
Training homework is essentially an opportunity for students to independently practise and reinforce what they learnt in class. (Source: StartupStockPhotos)

Homework can be a way for students to continually work at home throughout the school year. The tasks they do can reinforce what they study in class. This type of homework is the most common and often involves exercises similar to what they did in class but without the help of the teacher being there. The goal is to put the theory into practice.

However, there are a few types of homework that can challenge students to apply their knowledge. In some cases, this may be further reading to get a deeper understanding of the topics covered in class.

We can also classify revision as homework since when you revise what you covered in class, you could be doing the same as you would if it was homework. You need to do more than just reread your exercise books after all. Of course, we’re not saying that you should just not bother at all. If you don’t have any homework and you aren’t sure about something you did in class, you can always revise.

The teacher’s job is to give students a mix of different homework types to ensure that students can get the most out of their lessons. Let’s have a look at another type.

Check out our guide to homework.

Preparation Homework

Homework can also be used to prepare for upcoming classes. This is when the students will either research or do activities to get them ready for an upcoming class or topic.

What is preparation homework?
Homework can also task students with finding out something or preparing for an upcoming topic to be covered in class. (Source: ejlindstrom)

There are a few types of activities that can be useful preparations for an upcoming topic:

  • Reading an extract from a text.
  • Watching a video that introduces the topic.
  • Writing a text for an upcoming presentation.
  • Writing an essay on a new topic.
  • A multiple-choice test to see how much they already know about the new topic.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list and there are plenty of other exercises that can be used to introduce students to a new topic. This type of homework can’t replace the lesson itself, but it can be used to introduce the knowledge needed to understand the topic when you do teach them it.

A lot of students hate getting given homework, but it can be used to make the lesson easier or support the lesson afterwards. It’s also a useful tool for teachers to make their teaching as effective as possible.

Preparation homework doesn’t always need to be marked by the teacher as you’ll see how effective it’s been when you start teaching students the subject you had them preparing for. If they’ve done their homework well, the lesson will be easier for them.

Check out our favourite online homework resources.

Adapting Homework to the Subject Being Taught

The type of homework you give a student will depend on their level and also the subject you teach.

How do you adapt homework to the subject you teach?
You need to make sure that the homework you set your students has them using skills they'll need for the subject you teach. (Source: Pexels)

Maths homework, for example, is likely to include sums and mathematical problems rather than getting students to write essays. If the students are covering fractions, you can give them a few fractions to solve at home.

Some maths teachers give too many exercises to their students when the students will have understood the concept long before they’ve finished their homework. Keep in mind that their other teachers will also be giving them homework to do.

An English teacher might give their students an essay to write, part of a book to read and summarise, or an analysis of a text. You’ll need to decide whether the student should be reading or writing and how much of each they need to be doing to ensure they learn as effectively as possible.

The hard sciences tend to have a broader choice of options when it comes to homework. Of course, a good teacher can find interesting homework activities regardless of the subject they teach.

History is a subject that can often feel limited in terms of what kind of homework its students can do. You need to keep in mind that if students have to remember a series of facts or dates, their homework may be more like revision.

Foreign languages can get creative with their homework. The important thing is that the student is using the language and the grammar point or skill you’ve been teaching them.

You also need to think about the parents of the students as some will want to help their children but be unable to. You don’t want the parents to also be frustrated with their children’s homework, especially if their child is already struggling at school.

Marking Homework

You have to make sure that the homework you give your students isn’t pointless. If their homework is going to be marked, they’ll need to have a deadline. Of course, teachers can always give their students some leeway or quite a decent amount of time if the homework is important.

How do you mark homework?
Your mark scheme needs to be clear and fair. Of course, you can always subtract marks for late submissions, etc. (Source: SaadiaAMYii)

Graded homework can be useful for:

  • Developing independent study skills.
  • Teaching them responsibility.
  • Learning about organisation and planning.
  • Working to deadlines.
  • Learning to research.
  • Consolidating the knowledge they’ve acquired in class.

A lot of students may use the internet to do research for their homework, which can teach them about conducting independent research.

A teacher will need to mark their student’s homework according to a clear mark scheme. Not only does this make correcting homework less of a chore, but it also allows you to mark your students’ homework more clearly. Each student needs to have a good understanding of what they’re being graded on and what will constitute a good piece of work.

As the work will be marked, students should be expected to spend more time on it. They’ll also have many resources at their disposal when they do it. However, this doesn’t mean they can plagiarise.

Their main objective will be to get a good grade. Good students will look to produce quality homework and follow the guidelines set out by their teacher. Of course, when you correct assignments and homework, you need to ensure that if the mark or grade isn't perfect, the corrections provide valuable feedback to the student on how they can improve the next time they do a similar task or how they can get a better grade in this assignment.

Now you should know a little bit more about the different types of homework.

Find out more about correcting and marking homework.

Even as a teacher, you can continue to learn new skills and approaches. If you're looking for outside help, consider getting in touch with a private tutor on Superprof.

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Joseph

Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.