Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Homework – The Debate

Recently in the news, the big topic has been about homework. An article “Teacher who canceled homework hailed as a national hero” had me thinking about the whole topic. The teacher says she won’t be assigning homework because there is no research proving it helps and she wants to give families time to spend together. It seems like every year this becomes a topic for a debate so I thought I would give my two cents worth.

This teacher says that the students would get homework if they don’t get their work done on time. If the student is struggling with the work in the classroom, how can they be expected to do it independently at home? That is setting the child up for failure. Maybe the teacher needs to reevaluate the lesson instead so that she can meet the needs of all of her students. She might need to look at Universal Design for Learning in order to plan different activities for different learning styles.

When assigning homework, I think I look at the purpose for giving homework. I think homework teaches helps the student practice skills learned in school. I think this is important for the students to remember what they learned and be able to apply it outside the classroom. Somebody in the article talks about how you don’t do homework when you get a job but these students are still preparing for adult life and are not there yet. I think about how many kids play basketball on a team and when they are not at team practice or a game still practice at home. When kids play a musical instrument, they are encouraged to practice at home at least an hour every night.

When students are in high school or even in college, they will have papers or projects due. This involves having to do homework to meet the deadline. They will also face meeting deadlines in the workplace. If students don’t learn at an early age that they need to be responsible in doing their homework and meeting the deadline, how can we expect them to know this in high school or college? Doing homework teaches responsibility and time management.

I look at many of the Asian countries where the students are progressing ahead of ours. They do a lot of homework and believe that it helps the students’ education. I remember growing up and my mother gave me workbooks she bought to enrich my learning when I didn’t have any homework to do. I am afraid by backing off on homework we are doing a disservice to our children.

As for family time, I’m not sure that by not giving homework, families will spend more time together. Instead I see the students increasing time in athletic or musical activities or other extracurricular activities but not increasing family time. If people think homework is causing families to spend less time together, maybe families need to reevaluate their other activities instead of homework time.

I think this teacher is wrong and starting a bad precedent. I think homework is an important part of learning.

How do you feel about homework? Please share. 

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