This is my 10th year teaching Product Design and my first year as a Head of Year. Before I became a teacher, I worked as a designer in London with a specialism in User Centred Design, which means I’m really great at market research. I see Year 7 as my biggest and most important design brief, so I’m keen on gathering information to influence how I design our Year 7 programmes. After all, designers have to understand their target market and my target market is Year 7!
Last week, I gave Year 7’s a survey regarding their wellbeing at school, which included questions about homework. Though students report having a reasonable amount of homework, the inconsistent nature of homework seems to be an issue that we are trying to address. On some nights students are getting a lot, and some nights little. On-going assignments were also highlighted as a homework timing issue.
I have been meeting with staff to discuss these issues with a view to develop a more robust Year 7 homework policy that considers on wellbeing and time management. I believe that students need “down time” to relax; exhausted students to not perform as well as their rested counterparts. In the survey, 80% of Year 7 students indicated that they are participating in regular extracurricular activities both inside and outside of school. My next aim is to gain an understanding of students’ time management outside of the classroom. I plan on putting out a survey to parents next term, but in the meantime please email me with your opinions about homework in regards to Year 7. Teachers have been advised that there should be no homework set for Year 7 over the Easter holidays. I will officially be giving Year 7’s homework to relax and spend time with people who make them happy.
On the wellbeing survey, students also indicated that they are surprised that they have so much stuff to keep track of. Some parents have expressed concern with the size of the school bag. I have brought this to the attention of the administration and there are talks of offering a lockable charging station to students in the future. In the meantime, I have a few suggestions to “lighten the load”.
- Students are encouraged to use Google Drive (AISHK students get virtually unlimited space via their AISHK Google account). That way all documents can be on “the cloud” and can be worked on from any computer. If students have a home computer, they can keep the laptop locked in their lockers at school in the evenings.
- Most textbooks are located on the Library page on the OLP. Download the textbooks to have at home so that books can be left in the locker.
- Always pack bags at night to stay organised for the next day. Don’t take unnecessary items.
Christina Carini | Design Teacher, Head of Year 7