5 reasons homework destroys learning

I found a link to this article while reading “4 Lessons New Teachers Haven’t Learned but Can’t Survive Without” by Mark Barnes (http://edge.ascd.org/blogpost/4-lessons-new-teachers-havent-learned-but-cant-survive-without) where he says:

Homework is a crutch for weak teachers. In spite of the deluge of research against traditional homework, it remains a practice that preservice educators are taught to use. These are the facts: homework does not teach responsibility; homework does not contribute to achievement; homework does hurt students’ grades; homework does take time from valuable family activities; homework does make students hate learning. Teachers assign homework so they can put something in a grade book. Do not get caught in this bad teacher trap. If you create engaging projects that students are excited to build, they will choose to work on them outside of class. In this case, everyone wins.

His final sentence says it all for me because it fits well with my mantra/policy about homework that it is far more effective when children do extra work because they want to, not because they have to!  The lessons should inspire students to go home and choose to do further research or extra practice for a variety of reasons (including that they don’t want to let the teacher or themselves down).  Think of intrinsic motivation versus extrinsic motivation.

  1. Homework rarely connects to the real world
  2. Most homework is assigned for practice
  3. Students often don’t understand the homework assignment
  4. Homework cuts into family time
  5. Homework is not fun

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE : 5 reasons homework destroys learning | Brilliant or Insane.

Focus on this! A list of things for teachers to remember.

I’ve been compiling a list of things that we are told to focus on whenever we attend professional development sessions.  If you are a teacher, you will know from experience that there are so many things that you need to keep in mind before, during and after each lesson.  If you are having problems remembering or staying focused, this should nudge you in the right direction.  Good luck getting that ever-illusive “outstanding” from OFSTED, because if you drop the ball on some of these, you may as well kiss it goodbye!

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Infographic: Focus on this! | Infogram.

Anything goes: Is there a right way to teach? | David Didau: The Learning Spy

Here’s an extract from this interesting post by the learning spy.  Click on the text to read the full article.

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Anything goes: Is there a right way to teach? | David Didau: The Learning Spy.

Math Worksheets | Free Printable Math Worksheets

I recently used the worksheets for transformations (see here ) and they were excellent.  The students really enjoyed doing them and there were plenty of different ones to choose from, so you will be able to differentiate effectively for all of your students.

Math Worksheets | Free Printable Math Worksheets.

The Myth of Progress Within Lessons | kevenbartle’s Blog

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An extract from this interesting post:

There is no such thing as progress within lessons.  There is only learning.
And let me make a second, equally bold and unequivocal statement to back it up:
The main perpetuators of the myth of ‘progress within lessons’ are leadership teams within schools, not Ofsted.”

To read the full article,  go to The Myth of Progress Within Lessons | kevenbartle’s Blog.

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And here’s an interesting video clip about performance and learning:

What kind of person are you? Have you ever done your Myers-Briggs TEST?

If you have never heard of the Myers-Briggs Analysis then you are in for a treat.  I have just completed mine again (I can’t remember the last time I did it) and the results are very interesting.  I am shocked at the accuracy and depth of insight that it gives.  Go to this page to get started http://polyhswasc.weebly.com/myers-briggs.html . Click on the image below to take a free test yourself (72 quick questions).  It might also be useful to try with your students.

Myers-Briggs – Poly High School FOL eDocument.

The Marking Monster returns…

After almost 30 years of teaching, I am still looking for ways to please everyone when it comes to marking.  I can see a huge monster again, moving closer, coming down the mountain and across the water towards me.  First I’ll do some reflection, then find some helpful links, and then finally I’ll just stop worrying and do some marking…

For my students: I want to give honest, helpful and accurate feedback that will inspire them to work harder, improve or be proud of their progress.

For my colleagues: I want to find new or improved ways to mark and become an example of good practice and effective / efficient assessment.

For parents: I want them to see that I am working hard to help their child and to pay attention to the details of their child’s work because I really do care about their progress.

For the leaders of my school: I want to follow their policies without being angry and thinking that I would rather be spending more time preparing lessons than preparing for an SLT member or an OFSTED inspector to walk in and page through a student’s book to determine how much learning is going on in my lessons.  

For me:  I want to do what I know works, despite the non-negotiable rules that are imposed on me, I want to focus on the important aspects of each student’s learning rather than on pleasing someone who might come and look at their books.  I want to mark out of genuine concern for my students rather than out of fear of being told that I haven’t done my marking the way that I should.  I became a teacher for many reasons, but mainly because I like helping people and I really enjoy empowering or guiding those who find maths difficult.  But here I am again, doing my job in a way that I am far from what is my true essence, I’m doing things that are not out of love but out of fear.  Fear that I will not do it properly, fear that I won’t do it according to the exact procedures, fear that I will get a bad grading from an inspector, fear that I should have spent more late nights marking rather than watching 20 minutes of TV while nodding off from exhaustion (with tests on my lap that I should be marking) and fear that I will not be seen as the truly passionate, caring, dedicated teacher that I have always aimed to be every day of my life.

Here are some more links to help all of us think about how we do our marking:

1. From Tom Sherrington: Making Feedback Count: “Close the Gap” | headguruteacher.

2. From HuntingEnglish:  http://www.huntingenglish.com/2013/06/16/improving-written-feedback/

3. From Suffolkmaths: http://www.suffolkmaths.co.uk/pages/1Marking.htm

Self-Assessment for each test (with a bar chart to show progress in each area)

This is an A5 form that I attach to each test for each student.   It helps students analyse and display each section of the test so that they can easily see where they did well and what still needs extra practice.  It is originally a PowerPoint file to allow for editing depending on the class, year or subject.  Please feel free to adapt it to your specific requirements.   It also explains how to work out percentage on the back and it allows the students to record the grade boundaries for the test for both KS3 and GCSE.Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 14.45.32

Self Assessment form for each test

How the OFSTED judges describe an outstanding mathematics lesson in the UK

Ofsted Criteria for Outstanding…  
1.  Much of the teaching in all key stages is outstanding and never less than consistently good. As a result, almost all pupils, including disabled pupils, those with special educational needs and those for whom the Pupil Premium provides support, are making rapid and sustained progress.
2.  All teachers have consistently high expectations of all pupils. They plan and teach lessons that enable pupils to learn exceptionally well across the curriculum.
3.  Teachers systematically and effectively check pupils’ understanding throughout lessons, anticipating where they may need to intervene and doing so with notable impact on the quality of learning.
4.  The teaching of reading, writing, communication and mathematics is highly effective and cohesively planned and implemented across the curriculum.
5.  Teachers and other adults generate high levels of engagement and commitment to learning.
6.  Consistently high-quality marking and constructive feedback from teachers ensure that pupils make rapid gains.
7.  Teachers use well-judged and often inspirational teaching strategies, including setting appropriate homework, which together with sharply focused and timely support and intervention, match individual needs accurately. Consequently, pupils learn exceptionally well.

extracted from http://emaths.co.uk/index.php/the-emaths-blog/item/an-ofsted-outstanding-mathematics-lesson