For years I assigned homework with very little return.  Between the low participation rate and the time it took to review in class, it was rarely worth the precious class time.  Finally I talked to my students about studying.  It was an illuminating conversation.  Here’s what I asked.

What?                         What do you study?

When?                         When do you study?

Where?                       Where do you study?

How long?                   How long do you study?

How often?                 How often do you study?

With whom?            Who do you study with?


Then I researched a bit about studying language and this is what I learned:


Don’t wait until to have a whole uninterrupted hour to sit down and concentrate.  20 minutes will do.  Study every day, wherever and whenever possible.  Frequency is more important than duration.

Book bags

Recyclable grocery bags (99 cents) are great for carrying the textbook, note-book, translator, pencils, and erasers:  everything a student needs to dip into the books for a spell.

I do. We do. You do.

Many students commented they didn’t understand the homework assignment.  Now in class we spend a few minutes on the assignment.  I model it, we all do one or two items, and then students do it on their own outside of class.

Keep Company

Many of my students found they enjoyed doing their homework alongside their children or grandchildren.

Answer keys.

Busy adults want immediate feedback on their work (before they forget).  Give students answer keys so they can check their answers immediately.