The education sector has advanced in the last couple of years. Old teaching methods and practices have been abandoned for modern ones. The new ones that are being used are more effective for teachers to use. Schoolwork is the most important task in every learning institution across the world. This is because it sharpens students’ skills and helps them remember what they have learned.
A research was conducted and it showed that students need to study at least one to two hours a day at home. This is going to help in increasing their knowledge and skills. Schoolwork is what teachers use to gauge how students are performing and progressing. So it is used to measure students’ ability to grasp what they’re being taught.
Each and every student is supposed to complete the assignment given to them in order to get good grades. On the other hand, there are students who might be having difficulties in learning. Therefore, what teachers do to help these students is that they go an extra mile to put more effort while teaching them. These students with special needs require help to finish their assignments.
Generally, when students with disabilities participate in the general education curriculum, they are expected to complete homework along with their peers. But, just as students with disabilities may need instructional accommodations in the classroom, they may also need homework accommodations.
Many students with disabilities find homework challenging, and teachers are frequently called upon to make accommodations for these students. What research supports this practice? This article describes five strategies that researchers have identified that help students with disabilities get the most from their homework. They include:
- Give clear and appropriate assignments
- Make homework accommodations
- Teach study skills
- Use a homework calendar
Ensure clear home/school communication
Below are five homework strategies for teaching students with learning disabilities.
- Simple homework
The assignment that students are being given is usually designed by the teachers. What teachers need to do is that they should design those assignments in a way that students won’t have a difficult time handling them. The instructions for the schoolwork should be very clear and simple. Categorize the assignment into parts for the students to comprehend easily. Ensure that the objective of the assignment is understandable for the students. Set flexible submissions dates and keep reminding the students about the requirements.
- Ensure homework flexibility
Teachers need to be more flexible while dealing with these students. Whenever there are changes that need to be done, teachers should be more than willing to do the modifications. They should be there to offer them individual time. Also, they should be allowed to submit reports in a format they’re more comfortable in. The evaluation and checking criteria should also be a little lenient for such students. Overall they should reduce the strictness in the assignment and homework regime for students with special disabilities of learning.
- Improve their study technique
When students are studying and doing homework, they usually get distracted by a lot of things. And this applies to all students, be it the ones with learning disabilities and general students. So teachers should play an important role to improve their study routine. How this can be done, is by teachers inquiring about their study location and environment at home. They should also enquire about the resources they have for doing their assignments, the time frame for completion of the assignment, and the notes written in their lectures.
- Introduce a work planner
Students need to plan themselves well so that they won’t get overwhelmed by the assignments. As a result, they end up not submitting certain homework. This is more likely to happen to students with learning disabilities. So parents and teachers should work together to ensure that these students have a calendar. The purpose of this calendar is to highlight all the assignments that they have to finish within a given time frame. It will also reflect milestones for them to achieve. This way doing work and assignments would be more sequential and systematic. Students with disabilities often need additional organizational support. Just as adults use calendars, schedulers, lists, and other devices to self-monitor activities, students can benefit from these tools as well. Students with disabilities can monitor their own homework using a planning calendar to keep track of homework assignments. Homework planners also can double as home-school communication tools if they include a space next to each assignment for messages from teachers and parents.
- Open Communication
Homework accounts for one-fifth of the time that successful students invest in academic tasks, yet students complete homework in environments over which teachers have no control. Given the fact that many students experience learning difficulties, this creates a major dilemma. Teachers should always open their doors for students to communicate with them. They should be there in case students want to ask questions about their schoolwork. Mostly for those students with learning disabilities, teachers need to be extra observant. This is because they need to keep checking their work and be there every time to guide them.
Recommended ways that teachers can improve communications with parents include:
- Encouraging students to keep assignment books
- Providing a list of suggestions on how parents might assist with homework. For example, ask parents to check with their children about homework daily
- Providing parents with frequent written communication about homework (e.g., progress reports, notes, letters, forms)
- Sharing information with other teachers regarding student strengths and needs and necessary accommodations
Ways that administrators can support teachers in improving communications include:
- Supplying teachers with the technology needed to aid communication (e.g., telephone answering systems, e-mail, homework hotlines)
- Providing incentives for teachers to participate in face-to-face meetings with parents (e.g., release time, compensation)
- Suggesting that the school district offer after school and/or peer tutoring sessions to give students extra help with homework
- Communicating with Parents
Parents are often affected by the amount and type of homework assigned to a student with learning disabilities. Homework assignments that are complex, lengthy, or unfamiliar to the student may create difficulties for the parent as well. The parent may attempt to teach the content, thus further confusing the student. The parent may overcorrect the assignment, creating frustration for the student. The parent and teacher should agree at the beginning of the school year on a process for communication if the homework assignments seem too difficult or too easy for the student. This communication may be through notes, telephone calls, fax, e-mail messages, or conferences.
- Parent Suggestions
Provide support and encouragement to your child in completing schoolwork. If your child seems to be having difficulty with homework, contact the teacher to discuss the problems. Share comments with teachers about homework that is especially beneficial to your child. Don’t wait until there is a problem communicating with the school. Provide a space for your child to complete homework. Some students work best away from all distractions, others need the comfort of knowing a parent is nearby offering encouragement. Consider establishing a drawer or box designated for homework supplies that will always be available. Set aside an appropriate time for completing homework. For some students that may be soon after school dismisses, for others, it might be first thing in the morning.
By working together parents and teachers can help students with disabilities benefit from homework and avoid frustration.
- Teach Self-Monitoring
Your child isn’t going to always have someone available to create systems for them or hold them accountable. They need to learn to manage these responsibilities themselves. Create an accountability chart that helps them stay on track. The chart might give stars for days with completed schoolwork, blank marks for days that homework was not completed, and a checkmark if the schoolwork was done but late. This type of system can also alert parents to potential issues. For example, if you notice that your child has had late homework three days in a row, you know that something’s not working.
- Make It Fun
When possible, make homework something that your child doesn’t dread. Provide snacks, allow them to listen to music (if it isn’t distracting), and let them take breaks. If your child has a positive attitude about homework, it can reduce their resistance and potential struggle. The most important homework strategy for parents with children who have learning disabilities is to have an open line of communication with the child’s teachers. When parents and teachers work together to create appropriate homework, children benefit.