The word “homework” often comes with a negative connotation. Homework reminds many of sleepless nights finishing papers or studying for exams. Others remember poor experiences of receiving harsh criticism about their work or feeling frustrated because they didn’t understand the purpose of their assignments. Indeed, we all have a lens in which we view homework that has been shaped by our experiences. Today, we want to talk about the lens in which you present homework to your students.
We often receive questions from school leaders about how they can help their students complete and turn in assignments on time. In our experience, we have learned that students’ success in this area is based on how they view homework! More often than not, their dedication to homework reflects their understanding of its purpose.
Below are three keys to help you provide a powerful outlook on homework for your students. We believe these keys will not only help students complete homework on time, but also get the most out of their assignments!
1. Convey the Why Behind Homework
Your students will more fully embrace their assignments when they understand the purpose behind them! We highly encourage you to take time at the beginning of the school year to communicate the “why” behind homework. At BSSM, we tell our students that we don’t treat homework like traditional academics in a high school or college. In fact, we don’t grade assignments to discover if a student has the right or wrong answer.
The purpose of homework is to help them unlock revelation about themselves and the Lord.
Through study, reading, and reflection, they can implement the messages they hear during class into their lifestyles. Most of all, they can step into powerful encounters with God that transform them and empower them to walk in their destinies!
Share your heart with students as you prepare them to dive into Bible reading, journaling, book reports, and more! Ignite their faith and expectancy by reminding them throughout the year that homework is a powerful tool to experience radical growth. Also, be creative in your communication about homework, like changing the name to “Encounter Assignments” or “Spiritual Growth Assignments.” Through the Holy Spirit, you can tap into strategies that will motivate your students to complete their work.
2. Define the Revivalist Lifestyle
To help your students engage with their homework, we recommend sharing how homework will shape them into the revivalists they want to become! At the beginning of each school year, we tell our BSSM students that homework develops them into a revivalist lifestyle! We believe this lifestyle is rooted in a spirit of excellence, responsibility, accountability, and ownership. Homework is a powerful means for students to develop these qualities in their lives.
To help our students foster revival in their lives, we define the revivalist lifestyle for them. We discuss this with the whole school so that students know our core values, can be successful in our environment, and understand our desire to see them grow in character and deeply encounter the Lord. We define the choices and behaviors we believe naturally flow from a revivalist. One of these actions is turning in homework on time!
To learn more about how you can break down the definition of a revivalist, check out How to Ignite Revivalists.
3. Share Expectations during Admissions Interviews
Lastly, we encourage you to be strategic and use admissions interviews to communicate expectations for homework. In Revival Starts with Admissions Interviews, we talked about how interviews are a way to draw in students that are committed to growth and ready to take on the demands of school, including completing homework.
If you find that you have many students who have trouble turning in their assignments, we recommend reevaluating your interview questions. You can then use these questions to discover if applicants have the maturity, sense of responsibility, and willingness to fully commit to your school’s program.
Also, if you discover that students are surprised by the workload and deadlines you provide, it’s possible they didn’t understand what they signed up for when they applied to your school. We encourage you to use admissions interviews to convey the amount of time each student is expected to put towards fulfilling homework requirements. Such communication will help applicants decide if they have the time and energy to complete the school year.
As you support your students to meet homework deadlines, ask yourself, “How am I sharing the why behind our homework assignments? How can I more clearly communicate our expectations with regards to homework? Am I setting my students up for success in this area?”
What are some of your ideas for helping students be successful in completing homework? Share in the comments below!