The success of a lesson can often depend on how many of the class have completed their previously set homework. If some haven’t attempted any or all of it, they are at an instant disadvantage in their knowledge of the activities ahead and they lack the achieving of set targets and goals.

The solution is to try to find innovative ways to encourage all the class to complete their homework on time. This way they stay up to date, their learning increases and they feel comfortable with tackling the next steps of the curriculum.

Why it’s important that it’s completed

If a pupil doesn’t think it’s worth spending time on, there’s every chance they won’t bother to complete the homework. The key here is to explain what they need to do to achieve the homework, why it’s important and the goals they will reach by completing it. Re-affirm in a positive way how it will affect them in future lessons if it isn’t completed and they will be much more likely to do the work which is assigned. If it’s simply given to them without explanation, it will be meaningless; give context and they will understand why.

Ensure it’s engaging

Simply handing out a worksheet with set questions on will not encourage or enthuse a pupil who has to self-motivate in their own time. Instead, create homework which has relevance to their life, their family and their immediate community. If they feel they can relate to it, they are more likely to complete it because they can offer personal input, often through real-life experiences or anecdotal evidence.

Give the class the authority to create their own homework

Every pupil has individual personality traits, interests and hobbies. Set a relevant topic and give them free rein to create homework which relates to the topic in a way they find interesting. This could be through the creation of a piece of fiction, a factual essay, a video, a play or a mini research project. It means that the students can utilise their learning skills within the VARK system to their advantage and create work which they feel they have really enjoyed completing.

Don’t overwhelm with large amounts of work

Try to cover as much of the major elements of the work which is needed during classroom time. This way, the homework can be greatly reduced to a small number of questions which are either research related to instil extra knowledge on the work covered whilst in the lesson or can be used to test that they have taken on board the topics covered in the lesson and that there is understanding rather than expecting them to try to learn to overarching elements of the curriculum on their own.

Whatever the method of motivation, the most important part is to praise the homework as it is submitted and to give thorough feedback when it’s returned to the pupil. That way they know their time has been spent productively and they will feel more motivated to carry on in the same vein with their next piece of homework when it is set.