Deworming Your Dummy Dudes with Your Good Dudes (Last Week for Sake)
In college classes the question is often asked, What kind of homework is most effective? If you have been at my classes you will know that when you are given academic assignments you must carefully evaluate them because they can impact you negatively or positively. I like to tell students that if you receive a bad grade on a task, it might simply be a grade point average issue and not be anything to worry about. However, if you get a great grade then it is clear that you did something well. However, many people think homework is the way to go and many teachers seem to adhere to this belief.
According to Psychology Today, homework has a very specific definition. An assignment is when someone spends a certain amount of time studying a specific material for test purposes. Obviously an assignment would be one that requires students to learn facts about a topic. People define homework as “duties, schedules, and rituals required for learning”. This definition makes sense but it can also be interpreted negatively if students are out of their comfort zone and learning something for the first time.
So I had a reader ask me this question, what kind of homework do you feel that students should be given that is most effective in the classroom? Some people advocate cramming all their learning in one night, which does not seem to be effective. Are they wrong? Are they right? I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle and is influenced by a number of things. When I evaluate homework assignments in class I like to think about how the assignment will be used.
First, there is a time limit of course but that does not mean that one should cram in the entire night. Could the work be done over the weekend if that is more convenient? Do I have a class period that is not being used or organized? All of these factors are taken into consideration when I do my homework evaluations.
Secondly, are the assignments being used in a structured way or are they being used as freeform learning? Much of what students do in their off time is subject to good or bad judgment. If a homework assignment is limited and very structured, it will be immediately noticed. If it is given outside of class and for a common task, I believe it will not matter.
Lastly, how the assignment is focused and explained to students could also be impacting their performance. If something is labeled as the full work, are students expecting to focus and really get into it or are they just given a section in the lecture? One of the key words here is structure. I have seen students react poorly in class to assignments that were unstructured. However, I see many students react extremely positively to assignments that have structured and clearly defined objectives.
So think about the task that you and your student are faced with and how you can best use the given homework assignments and exercises to your best advantage. All of my students have received excellent results in the past and many of them have come back to discuss how they improved the next semester due to homework and assignment improvements they made. It is always wonderful to see someone succeed because of homework assignments! If you would like a review of what homework is useful for students in business and finance, please contact me at [email protected]