At St Columba Primary we believe that there is value in providing homework but recognise that a ‘one size fits all’ policy is outdated.
The homework program is encouraged for Kindergarten to Year 5 and compulsory for Year 6. Appropriate tasks will still be set by teachers and feedback provided. Parents electing not to complete the tasks are asked to ensure that discussions have occurred with staff. This may include a collaboration of the benefits of completing a reduced selection of what has been offered for learning consolidation. Reading every night for enjoyment is considered a priority for all our students to develop successful readers who love literature.
Homework and study are two aspects of the same exercise, learning. Whereas “homework” is normally specific work that is assigned by the teacher, “study” ideally is undertaken by the student of his/her own accord to satisfy his/her perceived needs. Students need to allow time for both activities. As students progress through their schooling the importance of study and regular review increases, but it is important that good work habits are established early in their school career.
Types of Homework:
Homework set by teachers may take different forms. There are six main areas:
- Nightly review: Although this work is not set specifically by the teacher it is an expectation of all students that they consciously think over (or jot down in a journal) the important points of the day’s work in each subject before their next lesson in that subject. This should only take a few minutes for each lesson, with reference to their text and notes, and is designed to help consolidate the day’s work in long-term memory.
- Brief homework exercises: These exercises are set specifically by the teacher and should be recorded by the student in the diary. They are relatively short exercises such as completing a summary, copying a diagram, reading a section of the text, etc. They are designed to help the flow of lessons and consolidate the nightly review.
- Extended homework exercises: These exercises will be set specifically by the teacher and should be recorded in the student’s eDiary. Normally at least a few days’ warning will be given for this type of homework. Such homework may require extended information gathering, a set of more difficult exercises, or an extended piece of writing. This homework may require more than an hour of the student’s time; it is intended to augment the student’s knowledge of the subject and develop research and organisational skills. Extended homework exercises are obviously not designed to be done the night before they are due.
- Reading texts: A teacher may require that students read a set text over a period of time. Portions of the text may be expected to have been read by given dates. Students will need to allow regular time intervals in which to complete this task.
- Assignments: The assignments are designed to assess the student’s ability to work to a time deadline, to research information from a number of sources, to edit material in a logical fashion, to write clear and sensible English, and to take pride in presentation. The assignment will be set in writing and considerable time will be available to complete the exercise. Topics will be chosen which may be researched relatively easily using the school or local library resources. Students are strongly advised not to leave assignments until the last minute since extensions will only be granted under the most extreme conditions.
- General homework activities: At times teachers may recommend that students broaden their knowledge of a subject by reading reference material available in libraries, attending musical and theatrical events, listening to concerts and watching and listening to educational programs on TV and radio or the internet. These activities are less tangible than the other five areas already mentioned but they are also very important.
- Flipped Classroom Activities: A teacher-prepared video lesson set for viewing and reflection. The content of this lesson is explored in the next timetabled lesson.
Notes on Revision
All students need to regularly revise their work and practise the skills appropriate to each subject. A cyclic process of review and note making is encouraged in which students:
- Read through the material covered each day for each subject (as appropriate);
- Make summary notes of that material, complete problems and/or revise related skills;
- Develop a revision folder in which their summaries, tests, revision exercises and related materials for each subject are kept for future reference; and
- Set aside time each week to review material from the previous month. Students should use their summaries and refer back to their class notes and texts wherever necessary. This helps to keep skills and knowledge current and increases the depth of their knowledge.
It is important that students take responsibility for their own learning. The development of sound homework habits and effective revision methods will greatly assist students in achieving their academic goals. The skills learned by following the methods outlined above will also serve as a sound foundation for the rigours of future study.
Faculty Coordinators and class teachers are available to provide advice to students and will assist with developing skills required for the development of suitable study methods.
Maths help is also available each morning at 8.00am in Room 15.0.10 for all Secondary students. English help is available each Thursday morning at 8.00am in Room 7.0.1.
Ultimately it is in the interest of each student to develop planning skills to avoid a last minute rush. If possible, start assignments on the night they are set. Students should make sure they are familiar with the purposes of the assignment and the marking scale that will be used to assess it. Students should aim to complete each assignment several days before it is due so that they can proof read it and obtain advice (where appropriate) from their teacher.
Plagiarism in Homework
Plagiarism is the use of another person’s ideas and written material as your own original work (such as copying word for word from books or electronic sources). This is unacceptable in school assessment tasks. This includes information taken from books, encyclopaedias, magazines, CD-ROMs, the Internet and other electronic storage devices. Proven cases of plagiarism will be dealt with in the same way as cheating in examinations. According to the discretion of the Class Teacher in consultation with their Head of School any work that has been plagiarised will be attributed zero marks and students may be required to complete an alternative task.
All sources of information must be appropriately and accurately acknowledged in a Reference List or Bibliography included at the end of the assignment.