A recent study found that homework doesn’t help students learn, but it does increase their scores on standardized tests. If students are not actually learning anything from traditional homework other than how to take tests, then what is the point? Have we really become a society where the only goal of school is to get students to pass the standardized tests they are administered every few years?
While we all know that standardized test scores are at an all-time high in regards to the importance schools place on them, what if there was a way to increase student learning without decreasing these test scores? Shouldn’t we at least give it a try?
With a flipped classroom approach, instead of relying on worksheets and written reports to help students learn, class time can be used for higher order thinking exercises and assignments that actually help students learn and understand a concept. After all, if they truly comprehend a subject, they shouldn’t have any trouble taking a standardized test on the topic.
In a flipped classroom, students watch short videos of the daily lesson at home, leaving class time free for activities. Instead of using this time to administer traditional homework, class time can be used to foster a deeper understanding of the information covered in the video lesson.
Allow students to work together to create projects that demonstrate their knowledge. Use games to get students actively involved in the lesson (without them noticing). Have students write and perform a play instead of writing an essay. There are endless ways to impart knowledge to your students and encourage them to retain and understand the information.
Best of all? These types of activities acknowledge the learning styles of all students. Worksheets won’t help an auditory or kinesthetic learner absorb the information. But playing a game or working on a project will.
By working in groups, students will invariable begin teaching one another. And nothing helps cement our learning than teaching the information to others. Real learning happens when students are given a chance to reflect upon and use the information they have been given – a process that happens quickest when they are able to apply their knowledge towards a meaningful goal.
For those who say homework is an important way to keep parent’s involved with what their children are learning in school, watching a lesson together can be more productive than working on a worksheet together. Oftentimes, it has been so long since a parent has used the information on the worksheet, that the parent has trouble helping their child. By watching a lesson instead, parents are able to quickly catch up on information they may have forgotten and then start a meaningful conversation about the lesson.
Switching to a flip class model will have benefits beyond simply helping students learn better. It will also leave more time for students to develop interests outside of the classroom. After-school activities can be just as helpful at helping a student learn as the traditional work they do in a classroom. Whether a structured activity such as joining a sports team or playing at home with blocks, students develop skills that will help them in the classroom.
Additionally, in his book SPARK, psychiatrist John Ratey details the results of a study that found increased academic progress in students who were physically active for 20 minutes a day. Students who were active for 40 minutes a day doubled their progress compared to those who were active for 20 minutes. This study shows the importance of physical activity for students. With less time dedicated to homework each night, students will have more time available to be physically active.
What are your thoughts on flipping the meaning of homework?