1. To point out clearly and concisely to the pupils just what is to be done or what they are supposed to do.
The pupils must see clearly some reasons for the task assigned them. The assignment should enable students to see the purpose for their study and some definite objectives to be achieved. The objectives of the lesson are essential in giving direction and definiteness to the pupils’ thought and activities.
2. To show how the work is to be done.
The procedure to be followed by the pupils in doing the work assigned must be explained by the teacher to make the study period effective. Practically all recent writers and authorities consider the chief function of assignment to be the giving of specific and sufficiently detailed directions to enable the pupils to meet intelligently the problem or problems in the advance lesson or unit.
3. To make the pupils see why they should do the work.
The purpose of the lesson assigned must be made known to the pupils and be recognized by them so that their interest may be stimulated. Motivation is a definite function of the assignment. To require a student to do something without regard to his interest is unsound educational practice.
4. To connect the new lesson with one just completed so that the pupil may gain a whole view of the subject.
This refers to the integration of the past and the new lesson or to the principles of the appreciative learning. The psychological principle of apperception is thus given full recognition in the assignment function. Where the elements of appreciative experience are present, the teacher needs to direct the students in the use of such for interpretive purposes. When this is properly done, the students usually find the mastery of the new elements a relatively easy task.
5. To create the proper attitude toward the performance of the work assigned.
The desire or willingness to do the work must be created in the pupils. The pupils should understand the importance of the assignment and they should recognize the genuine merits of the advance work. This recognition is but one of the many means of providing incentive.
6. To anticipate special difficulties in the advance lesson, and to suggest ways to overcome them.
Every new lesson assigned assumes new elements to be mastered. The present of unfamiliar difficulties offers a roadblock to the students. The assignment is wholly inadequate that does not equip the students both with knowledge of these difficulties and with some suggestions by which they may be overcome. The ability to apply this function of the assignment effectively requires a mastery of the elements involved in any phase of learning.
7. To provide adequate provisions for individual differences.
Another important function of the assignment is the recognition of individual differences. All studies in mental measurements agree that among pupils there exist vast differences in intelligence, aptitudes, and temperaments.
Even interests of pupils are found to be widely divergent. Pupils work with more vigor, ease, and pleasure when the things they do are in conformity with their interests. It is, therefore, exceedingly important that the assignment provides for these varied interest, aptitudes, and abilities of the pupils.