The application of constructivist learning theory to homework practice: a case study of a trial of pencil-free approaches to home-learning in Key Stage Two Science

Forster, Colin (2011) The application of constructivist learning theory to homework practice: a case study of a trial of pencil-free approaches to home-learning in Key Stage Two Science. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

This case study, based in one primary school in Gloucestershire, explores the experiences and perceptions of children, parents and teachers in relation to homework; innovative, discussion-based science homework tasks are trialled. A review of the existing literature reveals that primary homework is largely ineffective in enhancing children's learning, and can often cause or contribute to stress for children and parents; this stress often contributes to arguments in the home. A review of constructivist learning theory suggests that traditional models of homework take little account of children's learning needs, which can lead to task-oriented rather than learning-oriented approaches being adopted. Semi-structured interviews were utilised in order to explore the perceptions of four individual teachers, and six children and six parents. Each child was interviewed with their parent, creating an ethical, dynamic and revealing research context in which the researcher was able to explore issues in some depth; a diverse range of perceptions were identified, with many participants, including teachers, expressing mixed feelings about homework. 'Pencil-free', discussion-based science homework tasks were trialled for one half-term in two classes in Key Stage Two. The researcher observed two class-based feedback discussions following children's engagement with pencil-free homework tasks. Following the trial of innovative homework tasks, children and parents were once again interviewed to explore their experiences and perceptions of the pencil-free tasks. Analysis of the observation notes and the interview transcripts suggests that, for most but not all children, there were benefits associated with the innovative approaches in relation to learning and stress-levels. The research methods enabled the research objectives to be met. Further research in this area could explore the range of ways in which teachers are making homework more interesting and meaningful for children, whether this is positive in terms of the children's affective responses, and how teachers close the assessment loop on homework to provide meaningful feedback to children on their homework.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Science Study and teaching (Primary); Constructivism (Education)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education
Depositing User: Phil Davis
Date Deposited: 24 May 2016 08:30
Last Modified: 20 Dec 2016 14:04
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3524

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