Three and a half years into my teaching, I've now tried four ways of motivating students to do homework.
- Hands off - my first year I was too overwhelmed with lesson planning and simply told the class "I expect you to master lesson content before the next lesson". Results in this class were the highest I've ever seen, but that may have other reasons than my homework (non-)strategy.
- Binder checks - this simply required way too much organization on behalf of myself and the students.
- Weekly quizzes - this works wonders in psychology, less so in mathematics. In maths, I'm concerned that weekly quizzes give some students weekly opportunities to fail, demotivating them further.
- Flipped classroom - didn't work, see previous post.
I'm thinking in part that this is an uphill battle. In Sweden, attitudes towards children and childhood is very "let children be children" = much play, little work, minimum pressure. In a different culture maybe all the above strategies would work, maybe they wouldn't, I can't know. I do have the luxury of having students from all over the world in my lessons, and I've asked them about their previous school (and homework) experiences. Without exception, students from Russia and East Asia report doing much more homework (double or triple) in their previous countries compared to now in Sweden.
They also report that teachers would:
- assign much more homework, often give out exercise papers each lesson
- collect homework every lesson from every student
- mark every exercise from every student every day and give it back almost immediately (latest next day)
- have almost no exams, letting homework be the assessment of choice
Considering that classes in East Asia are rarely smaller than 35 students, I have absolutely no idea how teachers find time for so much marking. Also not sure how students used to a more laid back system would react to a sudden change in this direction. Worth thinking about though.