THE ROLE OF HOMEWORK IN ACTIVE LEARNING PROCESS. PRELIMINARY RESULTS

L. Daniela1, M. Lytras2, T. Pigozne1

1University of Latvia (LATVIA)
2The American College of Greece (GREECE)
There are constant changes in the educational process. New and innovative solutions are being sought after to promote academic growth of students, one of the prerequisites for such growth is active involvement of students in the educational process to construct their knowledge and develop their competencies.
Sadly lessons have a time restriction, which is why home assignments, a form of teaching, is used in the educational process in order to promote the student’s ability to search and gather the necessary information independently and use the acquired knowledge by active participation, thus promoting the redevelopment of metacognitive processes.
However, the question of the amount and the type of home assignments, as well as the purpose of home assignments is becoming more relevant, because the OECD/PISA results show that both Finland and Singapore have achieved high learning achievements. The home assignment load being lighter in the former while being significantly higher in the latter (Education at a Glance 2014 OECD Indicators: OECD Indicators).
The opinion on the necessity of home assignments varies and there are people who believe that home assignments are a good means to promote an active learning process, which makes it a necessity. While there are others who believe that home assignments are not necessary because it overloads the students and creates additional stress, which does not promote learning.
To determine the actual amount of home assignments and to develop solutions which would promote active learning by reducing the time spent on preparing home assignments 10 schools in Riga united for a project „Meaningful home assignments” and set out their goal: to develop and test in practice the role of home assignments in a meaningful child learning process, to promote a wide range of competencies development and improve learning achievements. To reach the goal there are several tasks:
1. Identify the existing practice of assigning and grading home assignments in order to improve it in accordance with the newest findings in pedagogy regarding active learning.
2. Develop and put into practice meaningful home assignment strategies, which promote an active participation of students in the construction of knowledge.
Currently, the first stage of the research is complete and it is possible to report the initial findings.

Methodology used for the research – To determine the time spent on preparing home assignments, the type of homework being assigned the most, the subjects with the most home assignments, how students prepare the assigned home tasks and whether the help of parents or other people is necessary for the preparation of the home assignments, partially structured surveys for students, teachers and parents were prepared. Quantitative data was processed by using SPSS software, while qualitative data was analyzed using the principles of content analysis. The results gained were analyzed in context with the information of students everyday workload in school, thus obtaining information on the strategies being used today for assigning home tasks.
The findings include descriptive analysis, verification of the data, interpretations, illustrations, and conclusions.