Joe’s Jotter: How to Improve Homework at Secondary School
Is Homework Useful?
Students, Time spent at homework each night serves two purposes. Firstly, it is a reminder of what you did that day in school. In my opinion, the first five minutes of homework you do in each subject should be to go back over what the teacher did in class that day. Secondly, it also allows you to test yourself to see if you now understand information about a topic, and maybe how you may need to explore it further. Students should take care over each piece of homework and complete it as best they can. Personally, I really see the value of homework as a key tool in re-enforcing learning that has taken place during each day.
The Best Way to Tackle Homework
How you approach homework after a long day is the secret to being more efficient with it. Firstly, I would make sure to rest a little when you get home and get a good solid meal into you, especially if you have plenty to do. Clever students ‘eat their frog’ and do the difficult homework or subjects they struggle with first. This allows them to feel better as the evening goes on. As I see it, this make total sense, as your concentration levels, later in the evening, do not need to be as high for subjects you are good at or enjoy as tiredness creeps in.
On a similar note, attempt the type of learning you do not particularly enjoy first. In other words, if you aren’t fond of reading or learning off, do that first as opposed to writing or note taking. Homework and revision are about playing to your strengths and working smarter. It is better to write short key jottings as opposed to spending hours mindlessly reading. Fact!
No Homework Tonight!
If your daily homework has been completed during ‘free periods’ during the day, it is still important to use those few hours in the evening to revise material from last week or the week before. You need to take these opportunities, if they arise, to catch up. For students in Senior cycle, you cannot really afford to take a full night off. Am I saying you should work from 5 – 11pm every night? No, and you certainly should take a short break every thirty minutes. Even on weeknights, take some exercise or go do that little activity you enjoy that keeps you sane – whatever works for you to get your mind off things.
Homework is the Best Form of Study
Homework done to a high standard is a brilliant form of study. Reviewing work done in class via mini test questions or checking what’s coming up tomorrow can be included as part of your homework if time allows. Homework teaches you to analyse the information your teacher has given to you. Always take pride in the homework you produce, as it will stand to you in the long term. Time spent doing homework should be counted as part of ‘exam preparation’ time and you shouldn’t feel in anyway guilty when there are nights you do ‘all homework’ and ‘no revision’. Judge each night on its merits and how important each task is.
Being super organised with homework and your journal are important aspects to kick-start your success. In my opinion, homework is the best form of study, and you need to be disciplined with it. Write homework diligently into your journal each day and complete each piece of homework like you are doing an exam question. Being ‘smart’ with how to tackle homework is a skill, which could take months to refine. Ensure each subject gets a fair amount of ‘homework time’, depending on what you schedule is like for the next day.
Every day, I make a list of tasks on my phone that I need to complete. At the end of the day, I review this list to see how many of them I have actually fully completed. Tasks unfinished are then moved to another day so that each task eventually gets dealt with. At times, tasks are postponed (put off into the future), but ultimately they always get completed unless I deem them unimportant. Apply this technique to your revision, ensuring that everything gets completed eventually in the most efficient manner. Task monitoring, homework discipline and dedication are all attributes of the ‘Super Organised’ H1 student.
Student Survey: The Importance of Homework
I completed a survey of students previously and asked them to think about the importance of homework to them and how its benefits helped them achieve their goals. Here are some of the more interesting observations they made in their surveys:
“Record your homework carefully in your journal every day.”
“Use class time well if teachers allot it to homework.“
“Set the same time aside every evening for homework.“
“Do your homework after dinner and soon after arriving home.“
“Try to complete your homework before nine p.m.“
“Try to be honest with your teachers in relation to homework.“
“Tick off your homework for each subject as it gets done.“
“When doing your homework, do not lounge on a bed or sofa.“
“Ask your parents or teachers if you cannot understand your homework.“
“Have a quiet study area with a desk, fresh air, and good lighting.“
“As well as written work, browse over what was covered in class that day.“
“Do not let homework affect sleep time, but don’t leave it until the next morning.“
“Plan ahead on assignments if you are expecting a busy week.“
“Get the phone numbers of classmates for queries on homework.“
To view last weeks feature article on ‘How to become a Specialist at Maths Exams (Part 2)’, click here. Joe
More details about Joe as a Maths Tutor for Junior Cycle and Leaving Certificate (2022) and his Award Winning ACE Maths Solution Books can be found via the links below.
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