Homework

Aaah… Homework!  That perennial topic of debate for teachers, students and parents.

A couple of years ago I read an article from Fires in the Mind that proposed homework should take the form of deliberate practice.  I encourage you to have a read of the article – it has some very valuable content.  You’ll note that I left a response to the article which positions me quite clearly.    🙂

I see homework as an extension of my evaluation of the students’ knowledge acquisition. The classroom is a supportive learning environment. It will be a place where students can seek immediate answers and encouragement in their learning. Home is likely to be different. And homework allows me to put the students in a place where they need to think more independently; to consolidate their learning. Yes, they might struggle. But, in some ways, that’s what I want to see.
What do you believe about homework?  Is it essential, valuable or unnecessary?
How does homework feature in your classroom? 

 

2 thoughts on “Homework

  1. Hi David,
    Its an interesting debate isn’t it. My perspective as a primary school teacher is different to yours. It seems that there is no evidence of homework having any benefit for primary school age students, especially in the early years. There is also a lot of evidence that it can do more harm than good in this age group, so I’m not a fan of homework, even as deliberate practice for young students.

    That said, I’m not anti-homework. I’ve been setting homework that is more open ended and provides a choice of activities for students. They are spending more time making things, researching ideas that interest them and extending what they are learning in class.

    For example, when teaching Y2 recorder, one of the choices they had was to compose a song using the 4 notes we had learned in class and perform it for the class. Most of what came back was -er ‘interesting’, but one student composed a great little song which ended up being submitted to a national children’s songwriting competition. And guess what? She won.

    Without the homework program, she may never have attempted composition or had that interest and talent in music discovered.

    After that experience, I could never really dismiss homework as a waste of time – but it needs to be thoughtfully constructed and managed if it is going to be of value.

  2. Thanks Corinne. You are right in highlighting the difference between primary and secondary but also recognizing that there can be benefits from open ended homework tasks. I also like tasks that give parents the chance to become involved in their child’s learning. I love the idea of a bit of carefully engineered social interaction. :-). And that then raises so many questions about our role as teachers…
    Opt-In / opt-out is an option too but then I’d question the depth of learning the task can achieve for the whole class (but obviously potentially good for the individual). And then we are into the realm of definitions and semantics… What is ‘homework’?
    Yep, it’s complex!
    I was interested in reading your story of the girl who won the ACMF competition for my son took second place in his division last year.
    David

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