Some time ago, I wrote about various techniques for extending student exposure to concepts, without allowing one’s class to bog down. (See this post, and follow the links therein.) One key ingredient of this strategy is “lagging homework.” The basic idea is that today’s homework should not be about today’s class work. It should be about a topic (perhaps from last week,) that has become familiar by being the focus of class work in the past.
This is a powerful idea, for all the reasons I enumerated in those posts. Here are some of them:
- students who need more time to learn the concept, get more time
- students who need more forward motion, get more forward motion
- you may get more homework completion from students who didn’t do it because they couldn’t do it
- and students who are rushing class work so as to do their homework in class don’t tend to do it under this system
When I presented this idea to a group of teachers recently, I was asked to be more specific about the practical implementation of this concept. That was a good point: powerful ideas are less appealing if they sound good in theory, but are difficult to carry out. This led me to write a practical guide for teachers who are interested in lagging homework. If you are such a teacher, go ahead and download the file from my Web site. You’ll find that lagging homework is not hard to do, and (I hope!) you will reap the many benefits of this approach.
The document may need tweaking. If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them!
This is part of a multifaceted strategy to teach heterogeneous classes.
Read about it in this article: Reaching the Full Range.