Friday, August 4, 2017

Homework - Good or Bad?

Homework, School, Problem, Number, PaperSeveral educators I follow on Twitter are arguing against the use of homework, especially assigning 25 math problems ever night.

I took one class where they recommended assigning homework so students practice what they've already learned.

This is not an easy question to answer but what is clear is homework in early elementary school is not advised because there is no real evidence it helps the brain.
By middle school homework should take no more than an hour and a half and in high school, no more than 2 hours. 

It appears teachers are assigning more homework in early elementary because of the pressure students are under to read by grade three.  In high school homework has increased so students have a better chance of being accepted into the college of their choice.

What I can say with absolute certainty is there is very little concrete evidence regarding homework and what little there is?  Well, it doesn't say is where the evidence comes from.  Many sites listed the reasons homework is good but the reasons are for learning life skills such as time management and seldom was learning the material given.  The reasons for not assigning homework include allowing more time for students to relax at night and go to bed earlier so they are not as tired in the morning.  

Two things continually came up in regard to homework.  If you give it, it should be designed with the development of the brain and how it works.  Second, one should get a bit more creative when designing it such as assigning an online game to help develop a foundation of knowledge for the new topic.  It has also been suggested students be given a choice of several things they can do for homework.
In addition, the homework task, even as a game, should not take more than 15 minutes to complete or it may no longer be effective.  If the assignment is too long, it can interfere with home life.  One clear facet of well designed homework is students need to know the reason for the assignments and it has to be authentic.

Homework should never be busy work or students may never get around to completing it.  Still, I see no clear cut answer on homework - yes or no?  But I've found a few things that make an assignment more effective.  In the meantime, I have a book to read on the topic and I will get back to you on that.

Let me know what you think.  Have a great day.