Dominick Recckio, an accomplished high school student who blogs for Edutopia, surveyed students at his school on their homework habits and then wrote up some tips for both teachers and students on easing the nightly process. Within the post, he offers this reminder that students are often appreciative and receptive when teachers put work in a real-world context:
What could be a better way of answering students' biggest question—"When am I ever going to use this?"—than by showing them? There are many ways this could be done. Teachers could assign students the task of finding their own applications of certain principles at home, such as how electrical circuits can illustrate a concept for physics class, or how chemistry is applied in the kitchen. Or you could give them a list of things to notice at home or around town. For example, my town is right on the Erie Canal, and it has more heritage and history than most small towns. But when we study the era in history class, we never go out of the building and realize that it's right there.
While none of Recckio’s insights are revolutionary, perhaps they carry extra weight coming from a high school student than from another teacher or PD presenter. Thoughts?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.