Can you imagine a world where students can’t wait to get home from school to do their homework? As you laugh at that notion, just know that it can happen. With increased technology in education, coupled with student interest and study buddies, there is a way to learn how to motivate students to enjoy doing their homework. Here’s how.
How to Motivate Students: Appeal to Their Interests
The key to homework success is simple; make it fun, interesting, and relevant. If you want them to enjoy their homework, incorporate what they know. Find out how to motivate students by taking a poll. If you find that the majority of your class is into sports, then create a way to integrate sports into their homework. Studies have shown that when teachers merge student interest into their homework assignments, students are more likely complete the assignment. Appealing to student interest is a great motivator that keeps them engaged, as well as enjoying their work.
Keep It Short and Sweet
The purpose of homework is to practice a concept learned, or extend what they have just learned. The duration and the frequency is dependent upon the purpose for the homework assignment. The National PTA recommends 10-20 minutes of homework starting in 1st grade, then add 10 minutes for every grade thereafter, capping at 120 minutes for a student in 12th grade. It’s going to be very tough to get a senior in high school to enjoy 120 minutes of homework. Consistent studies have suggested that shorter more frequent homework assignments tend to be more effective. Students are more likely to complete these assignments, which in turn make them more enjoyable.
Study Buddy Club
The concept of a study buddy isn’t something new, it’s actually been around for a very long time. There is an abundance of research that proves group assignments can be highly effective. Have you ever seen a group of kids gathered around the lunch table or in the hallway all huddled together? Students love being with their peers, and they thrive when they get the opportunity to be together. If you really want your students to love doing homework, create group homework assignments, or connect them with a study buddy to complete the task together.
Embrace the use of new technologies by giving students the opportunity to do their homework online. Studies show that students thrive when given computer-based homework assignments. Websites such as Kidblog.org, Smartkiddies.com, and Brainly.com are fun, interactive ways to keep students engaged, as well as motivate them to do their homework. Brainly is a network where students can find peer support and ask and answer questions, while the other two sites offer student rewards and certificates for homework completion.
Mix it Up
Students get bored if they have to do the same old homework assignment day in and day out. It’s hard to assign homework that meets the interests of all students, so to increase the chances that your students will actually enjoy doing their homework, try mixing it up by varying assignments. To peak student interest and keep assignments fresh try changing your usual style of homework. For example, if students are used to writing out the definitions for new words, mix it up by having students create a symbolic representation of the word instead.
Make it Personal
Give homework assignments that make learning personal. Students are more likely to enjoy and get into their homework if it means something to them. If students are learning about their community, or other cultures, create a way for them to relate their own lives with that of what they are learning. These types of assignments helps students learn to appreciate what they are learning about.
Homework can improve student learning, and help students develop habits that will bring them far beyond the classroom. By appealing to their interests and utilizing technology, we can motivate our students to not only do their homework, but actually like it.
How do you motivate students to love homework? Do you have any tricks or tips that you would like to share? Feel free to leave a comment in the section below. We would love to hear your thoughts.
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Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds a Master's of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com, as well as a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com and TeachHUB Magazine. You can follow her at Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, or on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators.
10 Ways to Motivate Students Outside the ClassroomBy Room 241 Team • September 20, 2012
Teachers know that a student’s motivation can make the difference between a successful learning experience and failure. Motivation to learn is as important as the actual imparting of knowledge. However, it’s challenging to motivate students who grow up in a world that thrives on short attention spans and does not place a high value on academic achievement.
To prevent the educational process from stopping at the classroom door, the challenge for the teacher is to find ways to encourage a high level of motivation outside of the classroom. Here are several ways to achieve that.
1. Accentuate the positive
Whether inside or outside the classroom, a student needs to feel that they are capable of success and expected to do well. Praise, encouragement and acknowledgement of progress can go a long way in motivating students.
2. Set expectations and consequences
Students must be clear about what they need to do to succeed. Set expectations for each assignment and encourage questions. Teachers must also give consequences for not living up to these expectations. Consequences for unfinished homework or projects teaches students accountability.
3. Introduce competition
Most children are naturally competitive; this can be a powerful tool to motivate students outside of the classroom. Making an occasional contest out of homework can make accomplishment fun.
4. Introduce collaboration
The opposite of using competition to foster motivation is collaboration. Encouraging teamwork on projects get students helping each other and using their individual strengths to accomplish a goal.
5. Connect to their world
Relate homework and outside projects to students’ lives. Turn everyday experiences like family meals, vacations, taking care of a pet or a sibling, saving an allowance, and so on into educational opportunities.
6. Plug into technology
Students already use computers, tablets and smartphones. These multimedia tools have the potential to enhance curriculum engagement. Create projects using these tools to allow students to collaborate with each other, and encourage parents to provide valuable, real-time feedback.
7. Get parents involved
Getting parents involved in a home project is a great way to motivate students, and most parents will appreciate the opportunity for hands-on involvement in their child’s education. Involved parents will also ensure homework completion.
8. Get students involved
Allowing students to participate in the creation of homework and have a choice in the subjects they study outside the classroom will encourage creativity and boost excitement.
9. Use the television
Like it or not, kids spend a great deal of their time outside of the classroom in front of the TV. Turn this into an advantage by assigning educational programs which can be a part of classroom discussion the next day.
10. Consider the student
Teachers should engage on an individual level with students and find out what challenges they may be facing at home. Assigning homework that is unrealistic for a particular students’ situation is a motivation killer. Sometimes a tailored approach is necessary. Take individual learning styles into account too.
Motivation is key
Amid the various distractions our technologically advanced world has, motivating students should be at the forefront of educator’s goals. Getting students motivated to learn when they are outside of the classroom can be accomplished with some creativity and imagination. Teaching students how to learn at home will motivate them to love learning for a lifetime.