As a new teacher you often wonder how much homework you should give your students. Even though the appropriate amount of homework is kind of important it is not the quantity of homework that is the important question. The question should rather be when and what students are able to do on their own at home.

In the behavioristic model the teacher has made a lesson plan. As a teacher you teach the new content and you have in advance decided how much exercises students should calculate during the lesson. The exercises that they do not have time for in school they will most likely get as homework. I have heard many discussions where teachers have come to realize that this does not work. There are several problems with this but the most obvious problem is that many students do not perhaps do their homework. Should you then as a teacher just think that your students had their chance and move on, having a class where most students did not get enough exercise, or should you perhaps just stop giving homework?

One reason why many students do not do their homework is that it might be too difficult. During the lesson they did not have enough time to learn the content and then they might become frustrated at home, leading to a low interest for the subject. If the interest is low, this will of course result in even less completed homework. That is why it is important, when introducing something new, to give students time to fully understand the new content and process it before they are assumed being able to succesfully solve problems alone at home. Only when students are ready they can be tested individually at home, and then when they succeed, it will result in a positive attitude towards the subject.

This is why the student centered approach works very well. During class the teacher presents problems that introduces new content and maybe highlights important details. Students will then learn by collaborating and researching. During this process students will grasp the new content and it is the teachers job to ensure that all students are on the right track. After that the teacher has made sure that all of the students have understood the new content, the students are ready to practise at home. Then when the students succeed individually at home, the homework will give them confidence and the feeling that they have developed new skills in mathematics.

Are you looking for an online math book that encourages students to research? If you are, please visit Ma.fi (available in English, Swedish and Finnish) and learn about a digital math book for junior-high.