Changing environment, family structures, technology, laws and other spheres of existence definitely calls for change in the educational system. With progressing times, education has undergone many experiments. The joy of teaching is the fact that methods can be altered to suit each generation or batch of students without interrupting the flow of study.
Over the last decade, psychologists and teaching experts have argued about examinations, tests and assignments; which is most conducive for students and tests their knowledge and capacity effectively? Determining the answer isn’t simple because each student’s mind operates, retains information and reacts differently.
Are Assignments Useful?
Answering this question is a lot more difficult than it seems, even for students. The reason this argument has risen is because of the overwhelming amount of activities that students are supposed to participate in apart from academics. All of these factors add more leverage to their applications for college and work. Having to take part in multiple extracurricular activities and maintain high grades is difficult for most.
However, let’s take a look at the various other pros and cons of homework.
Pros of Assignments
- The opportunity to practice whatever has been taught in class.
- Gain a better understanding of the subject and topic.
- Opportunity to solve problems or discover problem areas that can be dealt with.
- Allows parents to keep a track of class work, how their child is coping and help them with their work. It can be viewed as a time to bond.
- Teaches a child how to manage time and complete tasks within a certain time frame.
- Allows them to cope with class and follow what is being taught regularly.
- Both teachers and parents have a method of analysing the students’ progress.
- Assignments can be used as a guide before examinations.
Cons of Assignments
- If each teacher sets an assignment for a subject, the amount of work piles up and becomes difficult to complete.
- Most homework tends to be repetitive and does not challenge the student.
- Many students find assignments unimaginative. In order to foster an interest in a subject, teachers have to be creative with the kind of the homework they assign.
- It becomes difficult for students to balance home and school activities along with homework.
- Parents may not always be able to help their children.
- Students may develop stress and anxiety. Too much homework can have detrimental effects on their mental health.
How to Make Assignments Interesting
The key to making homework a successful educating process is by gaining the interest of the students. There are numerous ways in which assignments can be meaningful and fun. Here are a few to start with.
- Assign homework that is interesting. It is not always necessary to stick to what has been taught in class. A related topic that is out of the box, and requires some research. For that purpose students may consult with available online professional sites, so that they can create a clear view on the topics.
- Instead of individual assignments make students work together in groups.
- Turn assignments into challenges and games. Divide the class into groups to solve problems the quickest, or answer questions most efficiently, etc.
- Put up colourful, bright posters to catch their interest.
- Use slides to explain topics, and points to make remembering facts easier. This will make answering homework questions a lot easier.
- Set reasonable deadlines that do not pressurize students and take away from the entertainment of the assignment.
- For those who are having difficulty understanding or comprehending a topic, spend some extra time explaining and helping them to solve problems.
- Encourage students regardless of the problems they are having. Boost enthusiasm with grace marks every now and then.
- Try to combine different subjects together. An interest in one subject when related to another may help spark an interest.
- Interact with students as much as possible so that they are able to approach you when facing any difficulties or issues.
Alternative for Assignments
With a little creativity and thought, there are other methods that can be included in any curriculum to substitute assignments. Besides you have to know about Homework and Time Management How Are They Related. Some schools implement one or more of these methods.
Here are a few that you may be familiar with:
- Weekly Tests:
Instead of setting immense amounts of homework for each day, test the students on each chapter or two every week. This will give young learners enough time to prepare sufficiently. Multiple questions can be set with different ranges of difficulty to test their knowledge and ability to retain information. These tests can eventually lead up to one main examination.
Yearly examinations are generally seen as purposeless. While it tests the students ability to retain and understand material that has been taught over an entire year; usually, students study this a month before the exam. Throughout the year they do not pay much attention in class or focus on learning. This one-time test defeats the purpose.
Occasional projects can be extremely fun and educational, especially if children are artistically inclined. They should be allowed to decorate and organize their project while following a few basic rules like word count, informational quality and general format. These projects can be based on topics only related to something that is being taught in school.
- Field Work:
If there is one thing that is more useful than simply studying theories, that is being able to implement those theories in every day scenarios. Set projects that require students to interact with other people, collect information, analyse data and assemble it in a legible format. This will teach them both practical and theoretical skills. This will also help them develop their interpersonal skills, teach them how to network and, operate in high stress situations, and make complicated decisions in limited time spans.
While all of these methods can be used it is important to keep factors like curriculum, subject, availability of resources, mental capabilities of students, school supplies, income of families and other similar points in mind. Not all children will be the same, and their backgrounds may differ as well.
So, think twice before assigning highly elaborate or complicated tasks that require expenditure. Try to minimize costs and teach efficiently. This will also teach students how to utilize time, money and the resources they find around them by being innovative and using their minds to solve problems, instead of having everything handed to them.