of Dr. Steven L. Berg

Archive for the day “January 17, 2012”

Homework vs. Busy Work

Rarely do I give identical assignments to different classes.  However, because I want to expose students to blogs, between today and Wednesday, I asked all of my history classes to scan a series of blogs and to prepare a comment to one posting.  One student is taking two history classes from me.  After the second one, he asked if he should write two comments; one for each class.

While some could argue that because he is in two classes that he should write two comments; one for each class.  But I disagree.  By writing one comment, the student will learn what he needs to know for both classes.  Writing a second comment would just be busy work–a waste of the student’s time that would have no value to his education and learning.  So what would be the purpose of making him write double assignments.

For me, homework and other class assignments should be meaningful.  If they are not, then modifications need to be made at the individual level.  Generally, the modifications result in pushing the student harder, to ask him or her to work at a higher level than their colleagues in the course.  But sometimes, it means not focusing a student to do an assigned task that would have no benefit.

Cathy Davidson sent me a link to Angela Watson’s “Blogging Tips for Teachers.”  It is an excellent article with good guidelines presented in a very readable fashion.  It is a good reminder for me and will be helpful for my students.


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