I joined college teaching at Matribhumi Campus, Lamjung, where a few regular students were in the classroom. I would have enough time to share ideas, listen to them, and support them. Later on, I was appointed as an assistant lecturer of English at Hetauda School of Management and Social Sciences, Makawanpur, where there would be an average of 50 students in each class. In the beginning, all the classroom activities were going smoothly on. However, gradually, I was entangled with the late submission of home assignments by some of the students, which caused me troubles in teaching and learning activities, particularly about completing the assigned course in the expected time. Thus, in this paper, by reflecting on my experience, I discuss specific causes/reasons behind the delayed submission of home assignments of English and some practical solutions to get rid of them.
Academic achievement of students and their submission of home assignments in time have been associated (Eren & Henderson, 2008; Rawson et al., 2017). Thus, the study by Kim and Seo (2015) claimed that the procrastination of home assignments indicated the low academic performance of the students. There have been various reasons for such delayed submission of home assignments. For instance, a study by Kuftyak (2022) argued that the students who had low performance in their studies, their laziness, and lack of proper time management were some of the causes of delayed submission of their home assignments. Moreover, delayed submission of home assignments would have a colossal impact affecting almost all the aspects of social and professional lives of students, particularly their academic performance. In addition, a study by Shaked and Altarac (2022) reflected feelings of frustration, anxiety, stress, damage to self-image, and receiving a lower grade were some of the consequences of delayed submission of home assignments. Despite the devastating impact of procrastinating on the home assignments, some of the students in my class delayed the submission of their home assignments. Although I tackled the problem by encouraging and motivating the students to complete the assigned work in time, the fundamental situation remained the same. Moreover, they made various excuses, such as forgetting their copies of assignments and not feeling well, just to name a few to justify their delayed submission. However, finally, I overcame gradually minimizing the ratio of late submission of assignments by adopting various strategies such as finding the real causes of problems, establishing friendly relations with the students, changing the ways of teaching, dealing individually with them, and assigning the work on their consent, thereby, here, I argue by understanding the real causes/reasons of delayed submission of home assignments and dealing accordingly with the students assist minimizing the ratio of delayed submission of home assignments instead of imposing the workload and various instructions for them. Thus, in this brief descriptive reflection, I focus on just how I made the students submit their home assignments before the deadlines by exploring the causes/reasons of the problem and adopting some strategies to get rid of the problem.
Causes of late assignment submission
I explored various causes of late submission of assignments of English which were different from student to student. However, some of the causes of late submissions of home assignments are discussed below:
- Lack of clear understanding of the lesson
I found the students who did not concentrate on the classroom activities often delayed submitting their home assignments as they did not have much idea about how to solve the given problem due to a lack of clear understanding of the lesson. To solve their homework, they needed to explore their prescribed texts and other related materials which made them delayed in submitting their assignments before the deadline.
- Time management
I discovered some of the students who delayed in the submission of their home assignments had a lack of managing the time in solving their assignments as they reported they often began solving their home assignments very late hour after receiving them, due to which they could not submit their assignments before the given deadline.
I found the workload of students’ home assignments was also a responsible factor in the delayed submission of their home assignments as I often used to prescribe them more work by realizing that they had to do a lot to improve their academic performance. In addition, some of the students reported that they would receive extra work in other subjects as well, due to which they would be already overloaded.
I investigated some of the students who did not submit their home assignments on time and often did not pay attention to working on home assignments instead, they enjoyed copying readymade answers from various sources, such as from their friends’ exercise copies, without really being involved in the given activities. Moreover, some did not care about the deadline of their assignments and made various excuses for their delayed submission.
Ways forward to overcome the problem
After finding some of the causes/reasons behind the problem, I adopted the following strategic procedures to solve the delayed submission of home assignments. They are as follows:
- Establishing friendly relationships with students
Establishing friendly relationships with students assisted me in minimizing the delayed submission of home assignments by supporting me in a better understanding of the students and promoting the teaching and learning environment in the classroom. In doing so, I began spending more time with students outside the classroom, such as during break time, particularly focusing on the students who did not submit their home assignments on time. Gradually, I sorted out the names of the reluctant students, particularly about doing their homework, and developed their portfolios under their consent which helped me to assign a particular kind of homework for certain students and follow them before the deadline of their home assignments. As a result, the students who procrastinated in submitting their home assignments gradually improved and began to submit their home assignments a bit faster than earlier. They started sharing their problems of solving home assignments and other problems related to teaching and learning, which supported me in preparing further plans for overcoming the problem of delayed submission of home assignments.
- Changing the ways of teaching
By exploring a connection between ways of teaching and the submission of home assignments, I reviewed and changed my previous ways of teaching in the classroom. I minimized the lecture method and focused on students centric teaching methods, such as class discussion and group work, just to name a few. Changing ways of teaching assisted me in solving the problem of lack of clear understanding of the lesson in the class. As a result, I found the majority of the students who delayed submitting their home assignments were actively participating in the classroom activities. I kept on following and inspiring them by highlighting their latest progress in classroom activities. Gradually, I realized the change in their classroom performance and submission of their home assignments before the deadline, which inspired me to work further to change their ways of working with assignments. Thus, changing the way of teaching assisted me to some extent in overcoming the problem of delayed submission of home assignments by promoting students to solve the problems and making them more responsible in the assigned work.
- Dealing individually with students
In addition, I started dealing individually with some of the students who were still nagging about submitting the home assignments and making various excuses such as forgetting or missing their exercise copies, having an urgent piece of work at home so forth. They often would give me word that they would come the following day with the assignments; however, they never kept their promises. Then, I decided to deal individually with such students, which made it easier to explore further and understand them and to make them responsible for doing the home assignments. I initiated assigning different tasks for each such student instead of homogeneous kinds of work, which prevented imitating from each other’s copies and supported me assigning the work based on the standard of the students. The result was wonderful, as I found most of them submitted on the assigned time. Very few of them still did not submit on time. However, there was an improvement in their way of working.
- Assigning on students’ consent
Finally, I developed another strategy, such as assigning home assignments on students’ consent for those who (very few of them) were still remaining back on submitting their homework on time. Thus, I asked them some questions before assigning some work to them, such as “Could you complete this work in the given time”? “Could you solve the following problem?” After finding some positive responses from such students then only I began assigning work to them. Later on, I found successful results after doing this as they improved them by following the given timeline of their home assignments and solving the problem in better ways instead of making various excuses like earlier. However, I found some students would like to receive very few home assignments compared to the other students in the class. Thus, it took me a bit more time to assign them the homework on their consent; nevertheless, I did not give up. Ultimately, I found adopting such a strategy supported me in overcoming the problem of delayed submission of English home assignments.
This article reflects some causes/reasons for delayed submission of English home assignments. It provides some practical solutions for solving the problem, such as establishing friendly relationships with students, changing the way of teaching, dealing with each student individually, and assigning the work on students’ consent. This reflective writing showed a single strategy has not been adequate for addressing the problem of delayed submission of home assignments and provides clear direction for further exploring the problem.
Eren, O., & Henderson, D. (2008). The impact of homework on student achievement. The Econometrics Journal, 11(2), 326-348. https://doi.org/org/10.1111/j.1368-423X.2008.00244.x
Kim, K. R., & Seo, E. H. (2015). The relationship between procrastination and academic performance: A meta-analysis. Personality Individual Differences, 82, 26-33. https://doi.org/org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.02.038
Kuftyak, E. (2022). Procrastination, stress and academic performance in students. ARPHA Proceedings, 5, 965-974. https://doi.org/10.3897/ap.5.e0965
Rawson, K., Stahovich, T. F., & Mayer, R. E. (2017). Homework and achievement: Using smartpen technology to find the connection. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(2), 208. https://doi.org/https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/edu0000130
Shaked, L., & Altarac, H. (2022). Exploring academic procrastination: Perceptions, self-regulation, and consequences. Journal of University Teaching Learning Practice, 19(3), 15. https://doi.org/https://ro.uow.edu.au/jutlp/vol19/iss3/15
About the author: Surendra Prasad Ghimire is an MPhil Scholar at Nepal Open University, Nepal, and lecturer of English at Hetauda School of Management and Social Sciences, Makwanpur, Nepal.