Motivating kids to do homework
*Most kids don't like homework!
Make it manageable
To encourage kids to do homework firstly, make the homework short and quite easy. When kids find homework relatively easily, they are more likely to do it. On the other hand, if kids are unclear about their homework they probably just won't do it. If the homework is too hard for kids to do it on their own, then many won't do it, because there may not be anyone at home to help them. Others will give up because the task is overwhelming. So, keep your homework easy and give your best pupils an extra or bigger task to keep them challenged.
Make it relevant
Keep topics relevant to your students' interests. If homework is related to things the class enjoy students are more likely to be interested in doing it. Football fans would most likely enjoy preparing a profile of their favorite player for homework and presenting it to class.
Always acknowledge and take an interest in homework done - either have buddy marking, or mark it yourself. Or, even better, you might use the homework for a class activity. Students don't like doing tasks in a void.
Get students to work together on homework tasks, in pairs. It can be fun for them to get together and prepare something as a team.
Variety is the spice of life
Vary the type of homework you give. Giving the same types of homework task, such as gap fill, or reading and writing, can be limiting, especially to students who have other skills or learning styles. If kids are spending all day reading and writing at a desk in school, see if your homework can be different. Here are some ideas:
- Take a photograph and prepare to descibe it in class. This could be something at home, a person, a pet, or something you see on the way home from school. Describe your photo to class, or give 3 reasons why you chose to photograph that item, or 3 things you like about it. Etc. Play a game in class where kids pick a photo randomly and have to invent a reason why this item is essential to life, or why this particular item is dangerous.
- Draw pictures of 3 vocabulary words, learn those words and put them into a sentence containing all three. Learn your sentence by heart for class the next day.
- Draw and decorate a game board, such as a snakes and ladders board to use in class with grammar questions.
- Draw a plan of your house and prepare to describe it to class the next day.
- Paint or draw your favourite animal and decorate the classroom with the pictures. Play some classroom games using the artwork.
- Prepare a 20 second mime and be able to describe what you are doing in English, by heart. The idea is that the class will be able to guess what you are miming before 20 seconds are up. Give students a theme to work on. It might be an emotion, a place, an activity, something in the daily routine, or a scene, such as shopping or buying a ticket.
- Bring in something that smells and know what it is in English. In class hide all the items and have kids smell and guess what they are in teams.
- Bring in an object, know what it is called in English. Place ten objects in ten numbered cardboard boxes around the room. Cut a small hole in the box. Kids reach in and feel the items. Kids write down their guesses, numbered 1-10. After five minutes see what answers you have and reveal the items. Teams don't get a point if they can't name the item in English!
- Find 5 items at home that start with the letters A-E. In the next lesson ask kids for their answers and any one who has a unique answer gets triple points for that team. Do the letters F-J the next day.
- Find 5 things at home that measure approximately 1cm, 10 cm, 50 cm, 1 m and 2 m. Use feet and inches if those are more relevant.
- Make some fake money to use in class role-plays or a game like Shop-a-holics (176 English Language Games for Children)