Clear and Appropriate Assignments


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As a teacher of students with learning disabilities, I found that one of the most difficult  things for many of my students was understanding and  completing homework assignments.  

Here are 10 tips to help students be successful in completing their homework for you:

 1)  Make sure your students and their parents understand the homework policy.
 2)  Assign work that the students can do. If your student has a learning disability in  written language, chances are you won't get the  10-page written report you assigned.   Perhaps he  could tape the information or present it in a  different way, such as through the use of pictures  or a skit.

 3)  Make sure the student understands the assignment and has written it down correctly.   That may mean  you'll have to spend a little extra time with the  student to show him examples of what you want and to  answer any questions he might have.   Often, this  involves an element of trust, especially as the child  gets older.   He needs to be able to go to you and  know that he will get help, not rejection.

 4)  Don't overload the student with homework. Remember, it takes these students longer to complete  the assignment in the first place.   So, it might be a  good idea to cut the number of multiplication problems  you assign him in half.   Or, perhaps you would reduce  the amount of reading you want him to do in his reading  book for the night.

 5)  Relate new learning and homework with real life. If the child understands how she can use this  information in her life, it means more to her and she  will learn it much more easily.

 6)  Have the student begin the homework in class so you can check to see if he is doing it correctly  before he goes home.

 7)  Remind the student of due dates periodically. They may have it written down, but many students with  learning disabilities have trouble with organization  and may not have it as a current assignment.

 8)  Allow students to work together on homework. This can help the child get reinforcement of the  information from his peers, and it can also help  promote social skills.

 9)  Establish a routine at the beginning of the year about homework assignments.   Be consistent and fair  about reinforcing that routine.

 10)  Allow the student to tell you at the beginning of class time if he was not able to complete  his assignment. There are valid reasons for not  completing an assignment. Perhaps the student just  needs more reinforcement in that skill.  

Ensuring that the student can understand and complete assignments goes a long way toward boosting his self-esteem.    He feels good because 1) he was capable of completing the  assignment, as did the other kids,   2) he knows he has  pleased the teacher,   3) he has pleased himself, and 4) he has  that much more information in his brain.   Increased self-esteem  will encourage him to take risks with searching for new answers  and contributing to class discussion. And that will earn him  more respect from his peers, as well as from himself. He will be  a happy, successful student.

For more plain talk about learning disabilities, please visit us at .

About the Author

Sandy Gauvin is a retired educator who has seen learning disabilities from many perspectives - as the parent of a  daughter with learning disabilities, as the teacher of  children with learning disabilities, and as an advocate  for others who have diagnosed and unrecognized learning  disabilities. Sandy shares her wisdom and her resources  at .


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