Sometimes I walk past a class during its first few minutes of and hear something like “Number 3?” This is an immediately giveaway of what is being done. After all, I used to do that, too. Then one day someone asked me “why?” It was then that I realised there were things I could do differently to turn homework into a classroom activity rather than the boring start it had become.
Here are a few ideas I’d like to share:
• Students expect homework to be the first thing they do in class. Surprise them. Do it as a “calming down” activity after a game or as a transition activity. You could also leave it till the end of class. I don’t usually use it as a warmer. In my opinion these two shouldn’t mix, having different aims.
• Even if you are in a hurry and want to get it out of the way, you can still make sure students are alert by varying the order in which you correct exercises.
• Photocopy answers and give each pair or group a copy. Students correct and explain wrong answers to each other.
• Always give students a chance to compare their answers, insecure students will feel more confident if they have to speak.
• Make it fun. Take names out of a hat at random, but give students the option to PASS if their name is called.
• Finally, you can set homework on Moodle with the Quiz module. Students get corrections right away, which is quite effective and dynamic.