School-Wide Homework Guideline


Introduction

1.             At Gan Eng Seng Primary School, we believe that homework is an essential part of our pupils’ learning. Homework can be an effective tool for intellectual development and academic learning. It allows our pupils to explore subjects more fully than classroom time permits. It may include material covered in class or unfamiliar material specifically designed to prepare pupils for upcoming lessons. Homework provides opportunities to deepen understanding, review and practise skills, and prepare our pupils for future lessons.

 

2.             Our belief in Gan Eng Seng Primary School is as we strive towards developing lifelong learners, homework helps our pupils develop good study habits and positive dispositions towards continuous learning. Homework teaches our pupils to work independently and encourages self-discipline and a sense of responsibility. Homework also creates greater understanding between families and teachers and provides opportunities for increased communication between and home and school.

 

3.             At Gan Eng Seng Primary School, it is our belief that homework helps our children achieve better progress and attain their potential in school when homework assignments are meaningful, completed successfully and when feedback on assignments is timely. Homework, when used appropriately, can improve pupils’ academic ability, study skills and disposition towards learning, provide feedback on their progress and cultivate a healthy disposition towards continuous learning. When used inappropriately or excessively, however, homework can impact negatively on pupils’ achievements and motivation, and reduce their access to other activities that teach important life skills. With this understanding, homework will be set regularly to meet age-appropriate developments and pupils will be encouraged to establish good homework habits from the beginning of each academic year.

 

Objective of School-Wide Homework Guidelines

4.             It is critical to establish a set of homework guidelines that clearly outline the purpose and quantity of homework, the support rendered for late or missed assignments, and the level of parental involvement. We believe that effective homework guidelines communicate clear and reasonable expectations for our pupils and parents. The key objectives of detailing a set of school-based homework policies are as follows:

 

(a) to articulate the objectives of homework set for our pupils from Primary 1 to Primary 6;

(b) to establish processes to coordinate and moderate homework load across subjects and departments;

(c) to ensure consistency of approaches adopted across the levels and throughout our school

(d) to discuss and deliberate together with teachers, pupils and parents the school’s homework guidelines;

(e) to improve the quality of the learning experience offered to pupils and to extend it beyond the classroom/school environment;

(f) to communicate with parents the school’s homework guidelines and ensure that parents are clear about what their child is expected to do;

(g) to provide opportunities for parents, children and the school to work together in partnership in relation to children’s learning; and

(h) to encourage pupils and their parents to share and enjoy learning experiences.

 

Outcomes of Effective Homework

5.             Effective use of homework can benefit our pupils in their academic progress and provide key information for our teachers and parents to support and extend pupils’ learning.

 

Effective use of homework can enable pupils to:

(a) reinforce learning, deepen the understanding of lessons taught and retain knowledge better;

(b) regularly practice, apply skills and concepts taught and be more skilful in the application of skills and concepts;

(c) deepen their conceptual understanding and to consolidate work done in class;

(d) develop good study habits and skills, such as time management, self-evaluation and self-direction; and

(e) take greater ownership and responsibility for independent learning.

 

Judicious use of homework allows our teachers to:

(a) consolidate learning that has taken place in class;

(b) check for pupils’ understanding and progress, so as to provide timely feedback, intervention and support; and

(c) review effectiveness of lessons.

 

Homework also provides parents with:

(a) timely information on the learning progress of their children; and

(b) opportunities to be involved in their children’s learning and holistic development.

 

Definition of Homework

6.             Homework refers to any learning activity that pupils are required by the school to complete outside of curriculum time. Homework includes all class-related assignments to be accomplished outside of class time, whether voluntary or teacher assigned. Homework will be used by teachers as an extension of classroom instruction to expand or enrich the regular class-work or to assure mastery of a particular skill or concept.

 

Nature of homework

7.             It should be noted that homework can be set in different forms with different expectations and outcomes.

 

Quantity of Homework

8.             Homework should not overload pupils. In giving homework, the school takes into consideration the following:

(a) the amount of homework should be age-appropriate and/or differentiated according to the academic course (Standard/Foundation) and/or pupils’ academic abilities;

(b) there is a point of diminishing returns to giving more homework and homework overload can have detrimental effects on learning;

(c) the assignment of homework, if un-regulated and un-coordinated across subjects/departments, can lead to homework overload;

(d) there are competing demands for our pupils’ time (e.g. CCA, competitions, enrichment classes, tests, examinations); and

(e) for holistic development, our pupils need a balanced life, with adequate time for family bonding, social activities, personal interest(s) and sleep.

 

9.             In view of the above considerations, we in Gan Eng Seng Primary has developed our own planning norms to plan for and pitch the appropriate homework load for the different levels of our pupils. This planning of homework load also takes into consideration the various key school events (e.g. Sports Carnival, Children’s Day celebrations) in an academic year.

 

Homework during Weekends & School Holidays

10.          We in Gan Eng Seng Primary School are mindful that school holidays and weekends are meant for our pupils to take a break from formal learning and should therefore not be used excessively for homework. As a guide, if homework is to be given during the school holidays and weekends, the daily homework load will generally not be more than 50% of the daily load given during the school week.

 

Quality of Homework

11.          We are also very mindful that homework given should be well designed to bring about the intended learning outcomes. It should:

(a) be interesting and purposeful;

(b) involve active and thoughtful work;

(c) be worth doing (relevant) and related to class teaching (lesson objectives);

(d) be explicit and clearly defined so that our pupils clearly understand what is required of them;

(e) be within the pupils’ capabilities and developmental readiness;

(f) involve the use of only material resources that are known to be readily available to pupils; and

(g) be differentiated, where possible, to meet the different needs and abilities of our pupils.

 

Sanctions for Non-Completion of homework

12.          There is a need for a consistent approach regarding sanctions of non-completion of homework. The following is the route of actions with regard to sanctions:

(a) Our teachers will always enquire as to why the homework was not completed;

(b) On the first occasion, the teacher will give the pupil a reminder and provide added time to complete the homework. A pupil whose homework is overdue may be requested to remain behind after school in order to complete such work (upon seeking parent’s approval). Teachers will also provide a note in the pupils’ handbook;

(c) Any pupil who fails to submit assigned work punctually on a regular basis will be spoken to and counselled by their teacher and be provided with additional support if necessary; and the teacher will contact the child’s parents to support the change;

(d) Any pupil who is continually late with homework or does not submit assigned work after repeated attempts by the teacher to bring about a change will have a parent-teacher-pupil conference to seek out appropriate actions/strategies to support our pupils;

(e) Any pupil who continues to have problems with submitting assigned work on time will have a parent-teacher-pupil-School Leader conference.

 

Absence from School

13.          Parents whose children have been absent from school through illness or other approved short-term absence may contact our teachers for work to be completed at home should they be well enough to do so.

 

14.          If a child is absent for a length of time, e.g. with a broken leg, the teacher and parent/guardian will agree what should be done, e.g. how homework should be given and marked and what type of help needs to be given. It is recommended that these pupils continue to read daily.

 

Monitoring Homework Load

15.          Gan Eng Seng Primary School uses the following mechanisms to monitor pupils’ homework load:

(a) Reflect the amount of homework in teachers’ weekly plans and in schemes-of-work;

(b) Coordination of homework given by the subject teachers for level – level head and teachers coordinate and monitor the homework load during level meetings;

(c) Record homework given on the classroom’s whiteboard – teachers and/or pupil leaders will write down the homework given to the class for the day (subject teachers will moderate the amount of homework given); and

(d) Pupils record the homework given in their pupil’s handbook; and

(e) Elicit feedback from our teachers and pupils.

 

16.          Our school coordinates and monitors the scheduling of tests and deadlines for key projects’ submissions to provide an overall moderation of overall workload of our pupils.

 

Platforms for Communicating Homework Guidelines

17.          Our school’s homework guidelines will be distributed and communicated to parents at the commencement of each academic year. The updates will also be communicated via school’s letters and school’s website whenever necessary.

 

18.          Our school uses the following platforms to communicate our homework guidelines to our pupils and parents:

(a) Parents-Teachers Dialogue/Conference Sessions

(b) Principals’ Meetings with Parents

(c) Primary 1 Orientation Day

(d) Parents’ Handbook

(e) Pupils’ Handbook

(f) School’s Website

(g) School’s Letters

(h) Teacher-Pupil One-to-One Interaction Session

(i) Focus Group Discussions for Parents and Pupils

 

Roles and Responsibilities of stakeholders

19.          Educators, parents and pupils all play an important role in ensuring that homework serves its intended purposes.

 

            School Leaders to:

(a) Establish a set of school-wide guidelines on homework;

(b) Communicate the school-wide policy on homework to the school community (staff, pupils and parents);

(c) Ensure that there is coordination across subjects on the frequency and quantity of homework given;

(d) Monitor the implementation and review of the school homework guidelines; and

(e) Engage parents on homework matters and encourage parents to provide suitable home support and supervision for pupils’ learning.

 

Teachers to:

(a) Design appropriate and meaningful homework;

(b) Ensure pupils have the necessary knowledge and skills to complete homework;

(c) Set realistic deadlines for submission of homework;

(d) Establish and communicate clear expectations to pupils on the purpose and procedure of homework;

(e) Coordinate with other teachers of the class on the frequency and quantity of homework to be given;

(f) Ensure homework has been noted on the classroom’s whiteboard and recorded in the pupils’ handbook by pupils;

(g) Check homework and provide timely and constructive feedback to pupils;

(h) Provide timely intervention and support to pupils and encourage pupils to develop personal responsibility with increasing independence;

(i) Establish a regular homework routine and communicate to parents the manner in which reminders and information will be sent home;

(j) Engage parents on homework matters and provide them with up-to-date information pertaining to pupils’ learning progress.

 

            Pupils should:

(a) Understand the purpose of homework and what is expected of them;

(b) Understand what is expected for each assignment and ask questions to clarify expectations;

(c) Inform the teacher if an assignment is not understood or if there will be difficulty completing it on time;

(d) Record homework assignments in the pupils’ handbook, share the handbook information with parents, and return to school with the pupils handbook each day

(e) Keep track of homework instructions and deadlines;

(f) Establish a homework routine that is free from distractions;

(g) Manage time well to ensure that homework is completed and submitted on time;

(h) Complete homework assignments to the best of their ability, in proper form, legibly written, grammatically correct, check for errors before submission

(i) Give his/her best effort in completing homework;

(j) Submit assignments on time;

(k) Review feedback from teachers on homework submitted; and

(l) Speak with teachers and/or parents regarding homework concerns

 

20.          At Gan Eng Seng Primary School, we are very keen for parents to support and guide their children when they are doing their homework. We believe that young children are likely to get more out of a learning activity if parents get involved as long as they do not take over too much. We encourage our parents to discuss homework with their children and help them plan its completion on time. We also seek parents’ partnership in the signing of the homework section in your child’s pupil handbook weekly, and share your comments with our teachers.

 

Parents can enhance pupils’ learning by doing the following:

(a) Create a home environment free from distraction, conducive for studying and completion of homework - with good light and space for studying (best that homework be completed at a desk or table);

(b) Set a regular study time each day that is not to be interrupted by family plans, school activities or television and with a definite beginning and ending time;

(c) Supervise and provide on-going support for pupils’ learning;

(d) Ensure their children have the materials they need to complete their homework (paper, colored pencils, etc.) and a safe place to store them;

(e) Have your children organize their school materials: study notes, assignments, books, papers, etc

(f) Reinforce good study habits and attitudes;

(g) Be mindful not to overload their child with too many out-of-school activities;

(h) Check pupils’ handbook for the daily list of homework assignments so parent and pupil can both monitor progress on work;

(i) Encourage their children to work independently but indicate that you are available for help. Help them work to find the answer rather than doing the work just to get it done;

(j) Be supportive and give assistance when children get frustrated or discouraged with particularly challenging assignments;

(k) Encourage their children to put the assignment away for a while and move to something else, or take a break, if frustration occurs;

(l) Be encouraging and supportive, praising their children for completing homework. A supportive parent’s attitude is contagious!

(m) Work in partnership with teachers to support their children’s learning and   development. If you note a problem, contact our teachers to clear up any misunderstandings, troubleshoot problems and be better informed about our pupils' learning progress. Parents/Guardians who have queries about homework should not hesitate to make an appointment to see their child’s Form/Subject teacher(s).

 

21.          The school seeks to work closely with parents to provide meaningful learning experiences and the necessary support for our pupils in Gan Eng Seng Primary School.

 

Additional information