The following survey was sent out as a query to participants in the NCTE-middle list serv. This group consists of persons in the field of education who wish to specifically discuss middle school language arts instruction and pedagogy. Information for joining this list serv can be obtained through the National Council of Teachers of English web site.
Five teachers responded to this query. Their responses are summarized and quoted throughout this site. They had the option to respond on the list or e-mail me privately. All sent private e-mails with names being optional.
Question 1: What grade level(s) of language arts do you teach? [Responses ranged from 5th to 8th]
Question 2: What would constitute a typical homework assignment in your class? [Responses included studying definitions, writing analogies, reading, working on research paper items, answering response questions to reading, grammar review, writing practice, extensions of novels, studying spelling lists, long-term projects, reinforcement of class lesson, nightly/weekly reading noted on reading logs]
Question 3: Are you having a difficult time getting students to complete homework? [Answers ranged from somewhat to depending on the level of students, to an emphatic yes]
Question 4: Can you approximate how many of your students (in a rough percentage) have a consistent problem turning in homework (consistent=more than one missed assignment per week)? [Stated in site]
Question 5: Do you have any hypotheses as to why your students are not completing their homework? [Stated several places in site]
Question 6: Have you used any strategies that seem to encourage students to do their work and hand it in? If the ideas are not your own, can you cite the person who "owns" the idea? [Daily homework organizers that must be filled out and signed by the teacher, school/classroom policies for consistent lack of effort, sending home grade printouts, e-mailing parents, baked cookies, shown video, hold kids in from lunch, assign appealing writing topics, count the drafts written along the process, read aloud at end of period if students have worked well, contest between classes with pizza party for winner]
Question 7: How long have you been in the teaching profession? [Average = 10.6 years]
Question 8: If you have taught over twenty years, have you seen any changes in student homework completion over the course of your career? [Only one respondent fit the condition. She stated she really hasn't seen a change.]
Question 9: If you do not assign homework, would you explain your rationale? [Wants to see what the student can do rather than the parent, it doesn't come back in, likes to be there to clarify assignment, understands the need for after school "down time"]
Question 10: In your professional opinion, do you think there will be a day when middle school students are not assigned homework? [Answers included unsure, likely, has already happened in some districts, and certain it will always be needed]
State in which you teach:
The researcher would like to take this opportunity to thank the respondents for participating in this worthwhile gathering of information.