Primary education: listening and observing
Primary education: listening and observing

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Primary education: listening and observing

1.1 What do children think about homework?

Now meet Luke and Esme. They are are both 11 years old. They get homework once a week, and longer projects over the holidays which they record in a ‘learning log’. They are preparing for their end of primary school assessments, called the SATs.

Kimberly Safford from The Open University started by asking them what was their most recent homework.

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Transcript: Audio 1

LUKE
There were 10 maths questions and they were with different calculations. So like I have that 60 divided by 320. And there'd be 10 of them, and you'd get a mark for each, and then it'd be sent off to Mr. Crickwood, who's a year six teacher, and he'd mark it and then you'd get a mark out of 10.
INTERVIEWER
And do you think homework is helpful? Do you think it helps you-- your learning?
ESME
I think it's really helpful, because sometimes at home, some people don't have things to practise and revise on, so I think it's really helpful.
LUKE
I think it's helpful because it tells mum and dad like what we're doing at school and how we work it out.
INTERVIEWER
Do you think you need homework?
ESME
I think you do need it, because like some people don't have things to do at home, like to revise and things. So I think it's helpful because-- like to help you at school. So like if you don't have things to practise it's helpful, because you have things to practise.
LUKE
I think yes as well, because we had our SATs recently, and I think it really helped me do my SATs and to help me improve.
INTERVIEWER
And how much time do-- would you say you spend on homework on average?
LUKE
It depends. If we've got-- if we've got like six weeks holiday and we get like a learning log-- I usually do a bit each day. But if we do home-- like we get normal homework, it's just like maths and English are usually due at Friday nights, and then I can just relax at the weekend.
ESME
It takes me about 10, 20 minutes. Sometimes it's just that.
INTERVIEWER
And what do you think is good homework?
ESME
I think like if it was English, like writing, like-- if-- sometimes we get like questions, and then we have to rewrite it like correct. Like sometimes it's incorrect, then we have to write it correct, which is like a paragraph. So it's quite good because if they don't understand it, then mums can understand it, and dads and things and siblings and yeah.
LUKE
Well I quite like the maths because it gives you like various calculations. So like one week you could get loads of multiplication, multiplication in column methods, or it could be division one week and then multiplication the next.
INTERVIEWER
Do you ever get different kinds of homework? Like, oh, I don't know, not maths or literacy, but something else?
LUKE
Sometimes when we do-- when we-- like have the six weeks holiday, we sometimes get like history work to do like we do in class and geography.
INTERVIEWER
Yeah. What kind of work would that be?
ESME
Sometimes doing research. Like if you wanted to do like, say, the Victorians, and there would sometimes be a question sheet and you had to answer it from the internet.
LUKE
And sometimes when we have like Ms Orba, our teacher, she set us some recent homework which was the Charles Darwin homework, and we had to make like a PowerPoint and then bring it on a memory stick and then we can show it to the class.
ESME
Sometimes there's like a project. So like, say, if someone asked us to make-- like in year four we used to do things like if someone said, oh, make a lighthouse with a working light at the top, we used to make it with like boxes and things. So that was good.
LUKE
And soon we're doing World War 2 soon, and I think we're going to be making like base camps for like the-- like trenches and that, about how they did it, some modelling.
INTERVIEWER
Do you ever have homework that's-- you think is too hard for you? Have you ever been really challenged by your homework?
ESME
Sometimes I get distracted personally by things at home, like-- like if my mum asked me to do something and I was busy doing homework, I wouldn't know what to pick. So sometimes it's difficult because you get distracted. When you have an opportunity, like really big opportunity, and you have to do your homework and it's like you left it til last minute, you can't take the opportunity, you have to do your homework.
INTERVIEWER
Can your parents do your homework, keep up with your homework?
LUKE
They can help.
ESME
My mum doesn't understand the maths, but she understands the English. So English-- so sometimes I have to ask my sister with the maths. So-- and she sometimes helps.
INTERVIEWER
If you could set your own homework, what would it be?
ESME
If I would set my own homework, it would be like science and experiments, because we don't usually do that at school, like doing things, experimenting. So I would like to do it on science and experimenting.
LUKE
I'd probably do like tea or something like that. So activities for you to do, like-- aim is like try and run a mile or something like that.
End transcript: Audio 1
Audio 1
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In the next sections, you’ll meet other children from schools across the UK and find out what they think about their homework.

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