Homework is dead! Long live…

…Individualised Learning Opportunities.


I went into one of my semi-regular schools yesterday and was informed by a member of SMT that I must use the new ‘Learners’ Target Terms’.

‘Homework’, it appears, has been declared a forbidden word.

I did ask why the name change had been brought in. After all, if it’s work that’s done at home, it’s homework, right?


One of the deputy heads informed me that ‘strategic dialogues‘ had taken place with ‘concerned parties‘ and that ‘the over-arching framework of agreed reference‘ was that ‘homework is detrimentally impacting on students’ attitude to the furthering of their knowledge.‘ The SMT had therefore decided to ‘build upon students’ strengths and equip them for a challenging future by encouraging dissemination of peer-to-peer knowledge in a more realistically reflective way.

I then went and asked someone who speaks English what it was all about.

The head of the MFL department explained that the word ‘homework’ was considered to have negative connotations, and that the SMT had decided to replace it with ‘Individualised Learning Opportunities’. This, apparently, is much more positive and the pupils will be more inclined to complete it than when it was called ‘homework’.

I can’t see any flaws in this exemplary piece of reasoning.

Honestly, none at all…

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6 Responses to Homework is dead! Long live…

  1. 4c3d says:

    The flaw is that it is now an “opportunity” How many opportunities have you turned down, ignored or missed? Just how “individualised” is this opportunity going to be? Will there be any work involved? Now you also have to start thinking about how to define different levels of “ILO” (yes I am into the acronym straight away). Once you put that into your reports it will be fun watching parents ask about how much ILO their son/daughter is getting. Where will students undertake their ILO? Oh – the questions just keep coming. Wait until you have to re format reports, statement banks (hopefully you are still not using these anyway). Then there is the ILO diary and the ILO policy.

    Really – is this true?

    • Thank you for your comment.

      Unfortunately, yes, it is true.
      As you’ve rightly said, as well as the ‘individualised’ aspect, there’s also the fact that opportunities are optional.

      I understand ‘the ILO policy will be disseminated to all staff during the next staff meeting.’

      In such situations being a supply teacher is a relief – I don’t have to go to those!

    • I have found out this week that the ‘individualised’ part has mysteriously become ‘independent’. Or perhaps not so mysterious when you consider this was changed after being ‘disseminated to the staff’.

  2. John Doe says:

    Our head has banned:
    * work
    * revision
    * behaviour

    It’s all Newspeak.

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