High School students that don't do homework

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by HTCC, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. HTCC

    HTCC Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2012

    I need ideas for how to handle students who just don't do homework. About 60% of my students just don't do anything that isn't completed in class. One of my subjects really requires outside work for the kids to learn it, but they won't study so I have to give homework. Except most of them won't do that either. I've tried calling home but it doesn't seem to help with most of them. A few parents will get involved if I call about one assignment but its still a daily issue with every new assignment. I don't have the ability to do a true detention because of my extracurricular duties, and I feel as if I have no true way to motivate these kids to get things done. We also aren't supposed to give zeros and have to take late work right up until the end with no penalty. What can I do?
     
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  3. teacherwithlove

    teacherwithlove Comrade

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    Oct 23, 2012

    Have you taken a deeper look into your students' home environments? Some kids come from really rough places. Homework may be the last thing on their mind when they leave your classroom.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Homework is a battle that I don't fight anymore. Although I see the value in small amounts of homework for certain subjects, I also understand that many of my students just aren't in a position to do it.

    I give a lot of in-class time for practice work. I've had to cut down on the length of many of my practice activities because they need to be able to fit in the class period. On very rare occasions I will allow students to complete unfinished work as homework--but that usually only happens when they've been working diligently and they ask to be able to take it home.
     
  5. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Oct 23, 2012

    I agree with Ceasar. I just stopped giving homework every day. I give it maybe once every two weeks. And it will usually be something we started in class and they finish for HW.
     
  6. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Oct 23, 2012

    Let the students who do their homework use it during tests. Let the students who don't do their homework wing it. Whatever the home conditions, life is full of choices. Many of my best students have the kind of home life most of us have only seen in documentaries, yet they somehow have what it takes to buck up and do it in the face of their environment. One of my students wrote an essay titled "In Your Face" about his overcoming his environment, his horrible mother, and his disgusting father, and, to quote my student, ". . . becoming an educated, decent man in spite of all of you." (He's in med school now!)
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oct 23, 2012

    These students need to see the value of the assignment that you are giving. My seventh grade students once told me that they should not bother reading the assigned readings because the teacher just explains them the next day.

    I would give your assignment and have the students who completed the assignment do something meaningful with the information (whether it is have a debate, play a game, make something, etc) while the other students complete the assignment.
     
  8. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Oct 23, 2012

    I understand the home situation issue, but at some point this ends. Particularly, for college bound students in high school. Students going into college will be completing nearly all of their writing, reading, and practice work at home; on top of studying for exams and preparing for other in-class work. If we want students to be prepared for college, thus, isn't some homework warranted? I'm not advocating that we assign homework in amounts to emulate college, but doesn't some amount of homework have its place? For example, I don't assign my HS kids the same amount of reading as my college level kids, but I do assign some (my college kids have usually 25 pages due per class, where my HS kids average that per week).
     
  9. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Oct 23, 2012

    I teach one class that by nature requires a lot of homework and another that seldom needs it.

    I've found that it just comes down to priorities and attitudes. The students that had the worst attitudes about homework in the class that required it were average students from wealthy homes. The students that seldom did homework in the other class were all over the place in abilities and demographics. The one thing that they all had in common was a sense of entitlement and laziness.

    I do a couple of things that I think help, but I honestly do not know to what degree. I give out homework passes at the start of the semester. For some students having that safety net spurs them along. Others don't want to waste a pass so they go ahead and try.

    Like someone already mentioned, I sometimes let them use their homework on a quiz or for an assignment. Sometimes I let students know ahead of time that they'll have a homework quiz, sometimes I don't.

    In the past I have had students finish their work in one part of the room while other students did something "fun". That had very little success. But I'm not sure I planned it very well in advance though.
     
  10. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Oct 23, 2012

    It depends on the situation. Not ALL kids that refuse to work have bad home lives. I have some students that I know for a fact come from decent homes, and have relatively normal home lives (as best I can tell). One is the son of a teacher, one a child of a school board member, and so on. Loads of these sort of kids ALSO don't do homework. And their parents ARE involved, and I even meet many of them at conferences. The kids AND their parents reveal the same answer: they're lazy and don't feel like doing it. Now of course I know that I am not privy to the details of all their private lives, and whilst some might have issues, some don't. Some just don't care.

    Now, that isn't everyone. I realize that. Some kids are indeed in terrible situations, and may not be able to do the work. In such cases, I make exceptions to my policies, and take late work at any time. But in a history classroom, my kids MUST do the reading in order to understand and participate in the discussions the next day. Those that refuse to do the reading are either failing, or close to it. And they don't seem to care.

    I haven't found a solution to this problem honestly, but to the OP, at least know that you aren't alone in facing this issue.
     
  11. HTCC

    HTCC Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2012

    A lot of you had very valid points that I agree with. Many of my students come from low income families, some also have horrible home lives. However I agree that it comes down to effort and accountability. Most if what I give should take no more than 15 min. Or it's simply studying. I feel like home life doesn't change the fact that they have to put in effort outside of class to learn this stuff and I feel obligated to give them what they need. Unfortunately I have them for 35 minutes a day. It's barely enough time to get through the material, much less do the extra work in class! I have high expectations that my students will try. I just don't know how to follow thru to turn that into reality. So many teachers simply say they don't bother because it won't work. I'm not ready to give into that mentality. I guess it doesn't help that I can't relate. I was one that always did my homework. I never even considered it an option not to!
     
  12. Ca HS Sci

    Ca HS Sci New Member

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    htcc, when you say you aren't supposed to give zero's and you have to take late work until the last day, I think an issue is raised that perhaps someone in this forum can answer.
    Isn't the teacher the sole decider of the student grade?
    Ed code 49066 says teachers determine grades.
    Can schools essentially supersede this by laying out rules teachers must adhere to, like accepting very late work when the teacher feels it is in fact too late?
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    That code is only applicable in California.

    Even so, administrators and districts always have the power to set policy within their schools and districts. They are free to implement all sorts of policies about grades, including grading scales, category weights, late work, zeros, etc. As long as those policies are clearly advertised and applied equitably among all students, I don't see them as a problem.
     
  14. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    OK--here is my two cents...my son is a freshman in college. MOST of his HS teachers did not give homework; those who did gave very little. Learning how to self-monitor and prioritize his work has been hard for him and his friends in college. IT IS MY OPINION, that his teachers' did not prepare him for this aspect of college. Yes, he knows the curriculum. Yes, he is writing better than most of his peers. But he told me that writing one large term paper in English a semester was "bogus." He shared that he had to do mini-term papers weekly for his college comp class and he wasn't prepared for it. He made an A this semester, but he has several friends who made C or lower because they did not know how to get it all done in a week. I see his point of view and I realize that many of these kids don't have a parent at home that cares; but we are suppose to be preparing them to the real world.
     
  15. paperlabs

    paperlabs Rookie

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    Oct 27, 2012

    Hw.practice helps students learn to do things more quickly and efficiently. Maybe give them a really long time to take tests - like two years.
     
  16. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    With homework, students won't do it if they don't have to.

    First: I would find any teacher in the school that is able to get students to do homework and find out how he/she does it.

    Second: I would make sure you have a consequence for not having it done. It might be that you have a fun review game (15 minutes or so) on Thursdays and those missing homework will have to do missing work instead.

    Third: At our school, our students who don't do their homework won't be able to participate in sports. Do you allow your students to participate in sports and not do homework? If so, this sends a message that homework isn't that important.

    Without a consequence, homework is just an option. I would expect at nearly any school over 50% of students would choose the option not to do it.
     
  17. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    Oct 31, 2012

    The only time I have been consistently able to get homework in was when I was allowed to set the percentage. Homework was worth as much as test. Students always turned it in. Now, homework is only worth 10%, so even if you miss it all, you won't fail. My 11th graders are terrible about doing their homework, so I am putting test questions that deal strictly with material that was given as homework--if they don't do it--they don't pass the test.
     
  18. HTCC

    HTCC Rookie

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    This is a huge part of the problem! HW and daily work is 30% so if they don't do it, it doesn't necessarily kill their grade. However... They aren't learning the material because they aren't practicing it or studying it! So it kills the test grades. I gave a homework assignment and then the exact same assignment as a quiz the next day and every student failed. It was purely vocabulary. I have the same quiz again after making them do and review flash cards and 80% still failed! They just don't care!

    Next semester I think I'm instituting an interactive notebook and ransomed checks which will be a test grade. Now if only students cared about their grade...
     
  19. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    30% is a pretty good percent for homework and classwork. If students get a 50% for homework they are down 15 points and I doubt they will do well on tests and quizzes without doing the homework.
     
  20. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Exactly. I give one HW assignment a week because there is a requirement at my school, but I feel that HW is a waste of time since the students in my school and district (I have taught at 3 different schools in my district) just won't do it, no matter what consequences you attach to not doing it.

    Outside of math, I wouldn't give daily homework regardless of what I teach.
     
  21. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Does your school allow students to play sports if they don't do their homework? If a child doesn't have any homework not done on game day--guess what? They aren't playing in the game at our school.

    Might seem a bit strict, but I find it strange that we let students play sports, but choose which parts of a teacher's assignments they will do. They will need to do a lot of homework in college or even community college, so they better get use to doing at least some in high school.
     
  22. GTB4GT

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    Nov 3, 2012

    as you can see when reading this thread, many teachers have given up on HW because most kids won't do.Last year, I assigned and graded a lot of HW. Then I realized that alot of kids were copying their HW - I had students with good grades on HW who couldn't pass the quizzes or tests.

    This year, I still assign HW. May or may not take it up. When I do, usually about once every 4-5 days, I will give everyone 2 points (out of 2 possible) even if they hand in a paper with 1/5 of the problems worked. The weekly quizzes (which I use instead of HW so I can control the cheating) are now worth 10 points. I have seen a big drop in my grades (on average) since doing this.

    However, I feel like I have transferred ownership of their grades to them and removed the impact of cheating (which is very widespread in my school) from their grades.I also feel better that grades are reflecting their abilities/effort better than last year's grades. I also feel that this system aligns closely with what they will face in college.
     
  23. HTCC

    HTCC Rookie

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    I do use the pink slip from The 1st Days of School. Honestly, getting them to fill that out can be a chore. They either just fill it out and turn it in like its no big deal or they just leave it sitting blank on their desk and I literally have to stand over them to get it done. But I do like it for documentation purposes.

    I'm considering going to an interactive notebook for the classes next semester. My concern is that they will leave them in class instead of taking them to study or work on, and it'll be the same story with incomplete work.
     
  24. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    I read the Wong book. One idea that stuck out at me - the teacher should not be working harder than the kids. That is what you end up doing trying to get them to complete this kind of paperwork. If they cared, they would have done the homework in the first place.

    Our school policy is a detention for 3 zero's. I will do that for documentation purposes. By assigning HW (but not placing much graded weight on it) you provide practice for the intrinsically motivated student (I always ask the students if they want me to review any problems from the previous day so that there is feedback to them), cut out a lot of administrative (grading time) and prevent copying (may not be an issue in your school).

    I am reasonably sure that one student who made a 70 in my course last year probably did so on the strength of copying others homework. That bothered me.
     

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