Five Homework Strategies for Teaching Students with Learning Disabilities
Research shows that though homework has been widely utilized to provide students additional learning time and develop study and organizational skills, it can lead to frustration among students with learning disabilities. In the same way that students are given accommodations in classroom instruction, they must also be given accommodations as they attempt to do my essay and complete their homework requirements. Here are five research-based strategies that can help all students with learning disabilities get the most from their homework.
1. Give clear and appropriate assignments.
Homework provides an opportunity for students to hone new skills they have learned in class, as well as an assessment tool for retention. And yet, when the homework is too hard, or it takes too long to complete, students may resist doing it, or tune it out altogether, hence losing its value. The following tips ensures that you are able to give clear and appropriate homeworks and can benefit all students, not just those with learning disabilities:
- Make sure that students and parents are aware of your policies concerning timely delivery of assignments, extra credits and available adaptations.
- Create a homework routine as early in the year as possible.
- Explain the assignment clearly and make sure everyone in class understands what is required of them. If necessary, explain how the homework can be completed or provide examples.
- Make sure students are able to complete the homework on their own with little to no help from their parents. One way to do this is to have students begin their homework in class and provide additional instructions as necessary.
- Assignments should be given in small units.
- Give the assignment verbally, but also write down the instructions chalkboard as a reminder. Leave it there until the day it is due.
- Coordinate homeworks with other teachers to prevent overload.
- Relate homework to real life situations that students understand.
- Allow students to work together on their homework.
When homeworks are assigned properly, it has the capacity to increase student involvement and understanding, as well as their motivation to learn. Teachers must make necessary modifications before sending an assignment home. For students with learning disabilities, some of the most common homework accommodations include:
- Providing additional one-to-one assistance to students. Sometimes the teacher must repeat instructions, or give additional class practice before students with learning difficulties are ready to bring their home their assignments. Moreover, students might benefit by providing them with a peer tutor or creating study groups to support their learning.
- Allow students to complete the homework in various formats. For example, students with dyslexia can submit an audiotape of the homework instead of handwriting it.
- Adjust length of assignment, as well as the evaluation standards depending on existing capacities of the student with learning disability. If necessary, provide learning tools such as calculators to facilitate assignment completion.
- In general, it is always helpful to give fewer assignments.
3. Teach study skills.
Recent research shows that for both general and special education, problems with homework arise due to the student’s lack of basic study skill. Hence, it is important for teachers to develop study and organization skill in their students in order for homeworks to fulfill their function. The following organizational strategies central to homework and must be developed in students:
- Capacity to identify a location where they can complete their homework without distractions.
- Can keep their study materials organized.
- Able to keep schedules so that there is enough time to complete all activities, particularly for multi-task assignments.
- Can take good notes.
- Capable of checking their own homeworks and ensuring accuracy before turning it in.
- Able to determine when they need additional help to complete their homework.
- Can turn in completed homework on time.
Teachers can provide additional class instruction on organizational skills or they can get parents on board to support and monitor the application of organizational and study skills at home.
4. Use a homework calendar.
In the same way that adults need calendars and lists to self-monitor their activities, students with learning disabilities need study devices to ensure that they are able to complete their requirements on time. A planning calendar can help keep track of their deadlines, as well as help them plan their appropriately. Calendars which provide a space for messages between teachers and paraents can also serve as a tool communication, allowing both to monitor the student’s progress.
To be effective, students have to develop the calendar as well as make codes to keep track of completed homework as well as future submissions. For example, students can mark completed and returned homeworks green, or red for homework that was not done. Other colors can be used to mark if the homework is half-done or submitted late. This way, students will see their performance for themselves and will be more motivated to improve or maintain it. Heavy stock paper can be used, and students are expected to bring their homework planners home, and take it to class the next day.
5. Ensure clear home/school communication.
Because homework accounts for one-fifth of the time that successful students invest in academic tasks, it is important for teachers and parents how they can best support students in completing their assignments. They must communicate expectations, as well as homework policies, practices and other homework-related concerns. Here are some ways that teachers can improve communications with parents:
- Have students keep an assignment notebook which parents can check daily.
- Provide suggestions on how parents can assist their children with homework without completing it for them.
- Write progress reports or letters to inform parents about homework completion and performance of students.
- Share information with other teachers on student needs and strengths and accommodations utilized in homeworks and class instruction.
- School administrators can provide teachers with technology to facilitate better communication with parents (email, telephone, etc.)
- Schedule face-to-face meetings with parents.
Homeworks may be challenging for students with learning disabilities, but through the effort of both parents and teachers, it is not impossible for them to complete it. In the same way that teachers make accommodations to suit learning styles of students with learning difficulties, their parents must also make an effort to meet their teachers half-way.