CLIL Challenge 6 Homework

How can I discuss homework?

Introduction

Homework. A necessary evil. Or at least, that’s what our students think.

We all give homework for our students to do. I personally always tell my students they should not spend more than half an hour on their maths homework, as they have other subjects to work on as well.

Not all of my colleagues share this point of  view though, and I am not jealous of the students when I see their diaries!!.

Asking students to do homework is fine, as long as it’s useful. And discussing homework is one of the most interesting moments in your lesson, as students realise what they did wrong and learn from their mistakes.

I remember from my time as a student some teachers might provide the answers and ask us to check our homework ourselves, correcting the wrong answers with the answer in the answer key.

Others might spend half a lesson explaining one assignment, which was a waste of time for the pupils did understand their homework.

Today’s challenge is focused on this important part of your lesson. How can you discuss homework in a CLIL (engaging every student in your class) way?

Activity

The activities in this course can be done without a lot of preparation and require little experience with CLIL. If you have any questions however, don’t hesitate to ask me!

Cooperative learning is key and should not only be a vital part of your lesson, it can be easily applied to checking homework as well. Next time when you want to discuss homework, ask your students to work in pairs.

Let them check their homework with each other, marking the questions of which their answers are not the same. Tell them to try and explain the question to each other and see if they can figure out who’s got the correct answer.

This might seem like a simple activity, but to make this activity truly useful you should be aware of a couple of things:

Set a time limit. Without a line like: “You have 10 minutes to discuss these three homework assignments” students will quickly lose focus.

Provide an activity for those students who are finished. Students who don’t have anything to do might disturb other students’ work. (Never happens in your class, I know)

Focus on language. Help students to discuss the assignments in English by reminding them of the language part of the activity. In my experience it works quite well if I specifically mention this activity is also a language activity. Also, you might want to scaffold their language by providing example sentences they might have to use to explain certain assignments to each other.

Good luck with this activity.

Challenge

These challenges are supposed to make you think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Also, depending on your experience and skill, the challenges can result in different solutions.

Yes, the obvious challenge of this week is to think of your own method of discussing homework. To help you think about an effective way, ask yourself these questions

  • When do I discuss homework? Why at this moment?
  • How can I make sure all of the students are engaged?
  • How can I scaffold their language?
  • How can I minimize my own influence, making the activity as student focused as possible?

I would really like to provide more ideas, but you learn so much more by being inspired and coming up with your own ideas than by copying someone.

Good luck this week!