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Five Homework Strategies for Teaching Students with Disabilities (page 4)

By — Educational Resource Information Center (U.S. Department of Education)
Updated on Oct 22, 2010

Strategy 5.  Ensure Clear Home/School Communication 

Homework accounts for one-fifth of the time that successful students invest in academic tasks, yet students complete homework in environments over which teachers have no control-which, given the fact that many students experience learning difficulties, creates a major dilemma. Teachers and parents of students with disabilities must communicate clearly and effectively with one another about homework policies, required practices, mutual expectations, student performance on homework, homework completion difficulties, and other homework-related concerns. 

Recommended ways that teachers can improve communications with parents include: 

  • Encourage students to keep assignment books. 
  • Provide a list of suggestions on how parents might assist with homework. For example, ask parents to check with their children about homework daily. 
  • Provide parents with frequent written communication about homework (e.g., progress reports, notes, letters, forms). 
  • Share information with other teachers regarding student strengths and needs and necessary accommodations. 

Ways that administrators can support teachers in improving communications include: 

  • Supply teachers with the technology needed to aid communication (e.g., telephone answering systems, e-mail, homework hotlines). 
  • Provide incentives for teachers to participate in face-to- face meetings with parents (e.g., release time, compensation). 
  • Suggest that the school district offer after school and/or peer tutoring sessions to give students extra help with homework. 

Summary

The five strategies to help students with disabilities get the most from their homework are: 

  1. Give clear and appropriate assignments. 
  2. Make accommodations in homework assignments. 
  3. Teach study skills. 
  4. Use a homework planner. 
  5. Ensure clear home/school communication. 

Resources

Bryan, T., Nelson, C., & Mathur, S. (1995). Homework: A survey of primary students in regular, resource, and self-contained special education classrooms. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 10(2), 85-90. 

Bryan, T., & Sullivan-Burstein, K. (1997). Homework how-to's. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 29(6), 32-37. 

Epstein, M., Munk, D., Bursuck, W., Polloway, E., & Jayanthi, M. (1999). Strategies for improving home-school communication about homework for students with disabilities. The Journal of Special Education, 33(3), 166-176. 

Jayanthi, M., Bursuck, W., Epstein, M., & Polloway, E. (1997). Strategies for successful homework. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 30(1), 4-7. 

Jayanthi, M., Sawyer, V., Nelson, J., Bursuck, W., & Epstein, M. (1995). Recommendations for homework-communication problems: From parents, classroom teachers, and special education teachers. Remedial and Special Education, 16(4), 212-225. 

Klinger, J., & Vaughn, S. (1999). Students' perceptions of instruction in inclusion classrooms: Implications for students with learning disabilities. Exceptional Children, 66(1), 23-37. 

Polloway, E., Bursuck, W., Jayanthi, M., Epstein, M., & Nelson, J. (1996). Treatment acceptability: Determining appropriate interventions within inclusive classrooms. Intervention In School and Clinic, 31(3), 133-144. 

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