TATL #14: Homework Part 2


Emily and Roger continue to discuss about homework. They highlight extreme situations for teachers to be careful of and how to be more practical with assigning and correcting homework. 

When do teachers give homework?

After teaching a new point. Students can practice it at home.

Before teachers go over a new point, the teacher wants students to review something at home first before coming to class so that they are prepared to learn the new point.

Extreme situations that you should be cautious of:

An energetic teacher who spends too much time grading the homework (providing comments, stickers, etc.)

A teacher who has taught for a while and mainly assigns homework just as busy work but doesn’t spend time providing feedback because it is too much work or students don’t look at it.

Practicality Tips:

Teacher needs to teach students how to read and use the feedback.

Incentivize the process of receiving feedback by giving points. If students are lazy with homework, don’t be scared to score lower.

Use a rubric to save time in grading and show your expectations.

For personalized homework like writing or speaking journals, make sure that students understand who the audience is. Audience refers to people who will read their homework. Students shouldn’t just write for a teacher to read. The teacher should explain what other kinds of potential people would be reading this so that students are aware of the type of register to use)

It’s meaningful to give feedback, but set a number on how many comments to give.

For extreme teachers:

    1) If you work too hard, take a step back. Find a hobby. Rest. Don’t make work your life.

    2) If you don’t put that much effort in, try to put more effort.


Emily: Fresh’s Sugar Lip Balm (http://www.sephora.com/sugar-lip-treatment-spf-15-P57002)

Roger: Bandaid (http://c3.q-assets.com/images/products/p/jj/jj-1288_1z.jpg)

TATL #13: Homework Part 1

Main Content

Emily and Roger discuss about the purpose of homework and the difference between knowledge-focused homework versus skills-focused homework. They give examples of what zombie teachers do and how to avoid that lifestyle.

Goal: Avoid being a zombie teacher! (Teachers who don’t really give that much thought into teaching because they have done it for so long)

Q: Why do we assign homework?

A: There is a concept that when you work hard and get good feedback, you’ll do better next time. If this process is repeated over and over again, you’ll master understanding that knowledge or skill. 

"Homework is so ingrained in classroom culture both in the teacher’s mind and the students’ mind."

2 types of homework: knowledge or skills?

Knowledge homework: learning definition of concepts, how concepts are related to each other, parts of grammar, meaning of vocabulary words, paragraphs. etc. It is basically expository. There is a focus on what students know, not what they can do.

Skills homework: any homework where students practice something: interview someone, create a dialogue using the grammar they have learned, make sentences using specific vocabulary words, etc. There is a focus on what students can actually produce.

Questions to consider: Is it possible to do a skill without the knowledge? Should we care about the order of what kind of homework to give first: knowledge? skills? Should we give homework that focuses on both?

"What are zombie teachers doing?"

Easy in grammar because teachers can just look for worksheets and have students do it. It’s not bad to do worksheets since students are practicing their knowledge, but it shouldn’t be the only kind of work students are expected to do.

Teachers should consider checking homework but be practical about going over answers.


Emily: Mentholatum Inhaler (

) and Wasabi Beans (http://www.quest-for-japan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/wasabichaya_smallpacks.jpg)

Roger: Thermal mug (http://wwwhydroflask.com/)