Kelsey Lessard, alumna of Merrimack College’s online M.Ed. program, and current Dean of Curriculum & Instruction (K-1) at Arlington Elementary School in Lawrence, MA, stopped by for a recent episode with MINTS (Merrimack Institute for New Teacher Support) to share research she recently did on “Redefining Homework Expectations to Increase Positive Relationships Between Teachers and Students”.  In looking to institute a more positive atmosphere, Kelsey investigated how she could use homework as a way to build positive relationships with her students by not only rewarding them for doing their work, but also to identify why they didn’t engage with their assignment.

Homework for Elementary

As Kelsey noted, “What I found out is that homework had become a routine.” In trying to remove the homework consequence, she focused on the positive.  “So, instead of penalizing the lack of homework, I would celebrate and give points to students who DID their homework.”  This allowed Kelsey to help clarify the purpose of the homework assignments and build more positive relationships and interactions with her students. This ultimately created a more rewarding environment and presented an opportunity for Kelsey to understand any challenges students were having in completing their homework.  As Kelsey worked to shift the focus to providing purpose-driven assignments and combining that effort with an understanding of student challenges, she was able to help them to complete their assignments and provide a more rewarding and determined experience.

As Kelsey engaged in this effort, she saw homework completion percentages improve among her students, and it has inspired her to look for future opportunities to help improve the learning experience for her students.  For more information about Merrimack College’s M.Ed. programs, including Curriculum & Instruction, please visit online.merrimack.edu.