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Homework Policy

In: Other Topics

Submitted By arfellman
Words 1938
Pages 8
NBT1 (1114): Task 1
By: Ashlyn Fellman
Student ID# 000298280

Introduction A short overview of Ms. Smith’s classroom scenario describes the students as diverse in their maturity level and also their academic and social skills. Ms. Smith requests that students turn in their homework at the beginning of school on the right side of her desk. She also asks that students pick up their graded work from the basket on the left side of her desk in the morning. The students that don’t do either of them within the set amount of time, must ask Ms. Smith about an extension or for their graded assignment if possible. Ms. Smith will let students appeal their grades if they think there is a grading mistake. In order to make a formal appeal, they must write 1-2 sentences explaining why they think there is a mistake. They need to have support and the original answer stapled to the back. To find out the effectiveness of Ms. Smith’s homework policy for my 4th grade students, we need to consider whether her policy establishes and maintains three critical points in classroom management and learning. The three critical points are 1.) positive social interaction between students, teachers, and parents, 2.) motivation, and 3.) active engagement. I discovered that Ms. Smith’s policy could go in either point but it depends on how she communicates with the students and parents. If she is as strict as she sounds in her written policy and how long it is, some students and parents might grow with resentment to Ms. Smith. The ones with literacy problems will have the hardest time understanding her policy unless she verbally explains it to them several times throughout the year. However, if her policy is used as a guide and she has a helpful and genuinely careful approach, then the policy she wrote would be considered as a best practice when incorporated into my 4th grade classroom. For my fourth graders, Ms. Smith’s policy does have the potential to foster self-motivation because it lets student monitor their own learning, actively take part in turning in their work, appeal a grade if they see a mistake the teacher made, and talk to the teacher about their homework, understanding, or missing work.
There will be a lot of interaction from the teacher to the students and their parents with the help of a planner or some other organizational tool. A planner or folder will help with positive social interaction to take place between teachers and parents. It will let the parents report any suggestions or problems so they might help the children succeed better. Instead of requiring parents to buy a planner or notebook and wanting no resentment towards me, I would give each child a planner on the first day of school Finally, active engagement could also be fostered as a form of monitoring, self-evaluations, and interacting with the teacher on a daily basis when checking the planners, grading assignments, submitting work, explaining themselves when they have late or missing work, and voicing their appeals. One thing I would not do is have an inbox and a return basket on either side of the teacher’s desk for my fourth graders. In my classroom, I will have the students come up one at a time to turn in their homework at the start of class. I do not like that Ms. Smith has a return basket for all of the students to go through to find their own work. Doing that would expose the other student’s grades, which violates their privacy and could be used as bullying towards each other.
A1. Positive social interaction A common strategy done by many educators is educating the students and their parents of the homework policy by both verbal and handwritten explanation at the start of the school year (Linsin, 2010). I will be doing the same process and also put the homework policy up in the classroom so that the fourth graders can see it and refer back to it frequently throughout the school year. Using a planner will be beneficial to my 4th grade students with different social and academic levels so they can start forming a solid foundation for organization, prioritizing, and time management. A planner will also be an effective way to communicate with the parents so that they can ask questions, make suggestions, participate, and learn about their child’s academic experiences or challenges. A learning community will be made when students and parents are involved with homework and know what steps are needed to be successful (Linsin, 2010). I will use the planner as a resource to see how the support at each child’s home is like and how it is affecting their success in school. I will also use the planner as a one on one goal-setting guide and use it introspectively as a class project for the year. This will help to create an emotionally supportive classroom so that I can promote learning and positive social interaction with my 4th grade students (Hamre, 2013). Ms. Smith has a positive interaction with her students when they fail to meet her expectations in the homework policy. By having them feel responsible for their work and actions; Ms. Smith shows a real interest in them and holds them accountable. One on one time with Ms. Smith might possibly be the only positive social interaction with an adult that a child gets in a full day. Therefore, I definitely would hold one on one meetings with my 4th grade students regardless if they did or did not follow my policy. By holding these meetings, I would hope to find out their interests, hopes, and concerns. These short meetings will be used to make a relationship where students will feel emotionally and physically safe. Doing this will also let the students talk constructively with their teacher (McLean, 2003). Everyone, especially teachers, can facilitate positive social interaction and a better parent-teacher-student relationship by not judging or having bias against a certain person or group. I think that not all new student-teacher relationships should be spoiled because of a negative experience that happened in the past.
A2. Self-Motivation According to the scenario I chose, the way teachers respond to students is very critical as to how students see themselves and their abilities to achieve greatly. Motivation seems to come more from the perceptions and learning experiences children have. By having interest and caring for the students, teachers will be able to make certain strategies that will keep the material relevant and more motivating. Having a good relationship with each student will help the teacher develop new tools, strategies, and methods for keeping the students motivated through hard challenges and build self-efficacy. Ms. Smith’s policy will promote self-motivation by keeping her students accountable for their work and other actions. Just like Ms. Smith, I will also hold my fourth graders accountable for following my own homework policy. Keeping accountability in my classroom will motivate my 4th grade students because they are at the stage where they want to please the teacher, make good grades, and stay in the same grade as their friends. By having a set policy such as due dates and consequences for not following expectations, my fourth graders can practice and become more aware of time management and time constraints. When students learn about themselves, progress through their own goals, and learn about topics they like, they will become very motivated. As a teacher, I would make the planner a very useful tool to instill motivation, relevance, positive and constructive feedback in my students. I will use the planner as a positive communication tool to build trust and respect between my fourth graders, parents, and myself. The teacher and students can look over the planner together and put a sticker or some other mark showing they are making good progress. By seeing their progress and getting a nice sticker or reward, it will give the students motivation to keep up the good work.
A3. Active Engagement Students that actively participate and are motivated in completing their tasks and homework are defined as students who are actively engaged. Active engagement in Ms. Smith’s classroom is taking place by self-monitoring (turning in their homework), using a planner, appealing a grading error, and talking with the teacher one on one. According to the research done at George Washington University’s Center on Education Policy, there is an indication that the reform of education efforts are lacking in active engagement and motivation. The research also includes that certain strategies and homework expectations disengage students instead of promoting them in learning experiences (Crotty, 2013). In my 4th grade classroom, I would definitely include the ideas Ms. Smith has such as using a planner, one on one meetings, and self-mentoring. However, I would change her appeal process to a follow-up process where my students can show that they are right and then they will get the points back if they are. With doing this method, students could get a better understanding of that certain subject. If the students tried to appeal with a follow-up and got it wrong in their proof, they will lose a point and I will show them what they did wrong. In doing this, my fourth graders are practicing their researching skills and will get a reward for being resourceful, curious, and having a good work ethic. By putting the “follow-up” procedure into my policy, it will be another source of active participation and will remove intimidation and replace it with empowerment. To promote learning and active engagement further, Ms. Smith can guide her students through a variety of research methods and also give them different sources of information that could help them. Students are very diverse, so that means teachers need to be able to give the correct amount of support they require in order to meet the expectations of the teacher and grade level. Other options to help foster active engagement in my classroom would consist of small groups of two or three kids to complete projects or certain tasks, correcting their own work, and giving constructive feedback to their classmates’ work. Doing these things will be good for learning social skills, critical thinking, and active engagement. Another thing I would do with my 4th grade students is holding a drill test each morning over their homework and lessons from the day before. It will be like a quiz but they have to stand up quickly when they know the answer and then go up and write it down on the board. I will also give my students a certain topic a month and write an essay or poster on that topic. The research skills they will earn from doing this will help them in the long run especially in college and their career of choice.

References
Crotty, J. M. (2013). Motivation matters: 40% of high school students chronically disengage from school. Forbes Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesmarshallcrotty/2013/03/13/motivation-matters-40-of-high-school-students-chronically-disengaged-from-school/
Hamre, B. (2013). Teaching through interactions: Testing a developmental framework of teacher effectiveness in over 4,000 classrooms. The Elementary School Journal, 113(4), 461-487. Retrieved from http://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=psy_fac
Linsin, M. (2010). A simple effective homework plan for teachers. Smart Classroom Management. Retrieved from http://www.smartclassroommanagement.com/2010/07/31/effective-homework-plan-for-teachers-part-1/
McLean, A. (2003). The motivated school. Sage Publications.

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