A ‘Sharing best practice’ post by Kate Rolfe (Humanities)
Reading time: 4 minutes
The basic principle behind this idea is that pupils take a topic from class that can be particularly tricky or important and explain it to somebody at home. For example, in Geography the theory of plate tectonics is really important as it underpins a lot of future learning and so it is crucial that pupils are able to grasp it in as much detail as possible.
In class, pupils were taught the theory using videos and diagrams. Their plenary was to write a summary to describe the theory of plate tectonics to someone who hadn’t been in the lesson. This then acted as a scaffold for the homework which was :
“You need to explain to someone outside of school (mum, dad, brother, sister, grandparent etc.) how the plates move using a plate boundary of your choice. You can use your diagram/analogies from lesson to help you.
They should sign your book to say that you have done this with a comment if they wish!”
For me as a teacher this homework provided the benefits of consolidating learning where teaching someone else was the most effective method to do this and also promoted parental engagement in homework and learning at school.
Here is one example of a pupil’s work from class which he then took home to explain to his mum:
The benefits of this are highlighted by the parent’s comment in the pupil’s book where he actually tested his mum on what he had taught her.
In my eyes this went the extra mile and so I sent a praise postcard home. This has boosted my relationship with this pupil massively and provides contact home in a positive way.
Additionally, many parents also commented at Parents’ evening on how much they liked this particular homework. One parent said it was nice to ask their child what they had done at school that day and for them to have something to share over the dinner table as opposed to the usual response of “nothing”.
One parent said that it was nice that their child had involved their younger siblings in the teaching of the subject and another commented that it made a change for roles to be reversed and rather than having the pressure of having to help their child with their homework, which can be daunting at times, the onus was on the child to teach the parent.
A second way I have used this type of homework is to encourage pupils to proof read their work.
The homework was:
“I will be marking your assessments on Monday. I would like you to read your assessment to someone outside of school and tell them about the traditional story of the Gunpowder Plot and whether you think it is true or not.
When you are reading it out loud, if you find any spelling, punctuation or grammatical mistakes then you can correct them as you go along. Please do this in a different coloured pen.”
Again, this removed some of the pressure on my marking load and gave pupils a chance to proof read and edit their work before submitting it – something that I had noticed happening a lot of on my recent visit to a primary school but which I rarely have time to develop fully in class when there is a need to cover a detailed scheme of work.
Featured image: ‘education, a good idea’ by Jarmoluk on Pixabay. Licensed under CC0 Public Domain