Say the word “homework” to a group of students and eyes start to roll, shoulders slump and sighs will be heard. It is not just students who have this reaction towards homework. Parents also resent the role of playing the enforcer when it comes to homework. Many educators and parents have scrutinized homework for being counterproductive (Kohn, 2007). However, other educators and parents still believe in the tradition of homework, due to its many benefits.
Negative effects of homework, including a child’s frustration towards homework and exhaustion, have been well documented in the past. Some educators and teachers feel that homework causes students to lose the desire and interest to learn. It has been shown that excessive homework is counterproductive and does not increase academic achievement. Studies have also shown that students doing sixty to ninety minutes of homework a night are doing just as well or better in school than students doing more than ninety minutes of homework per night (Copper, 2006).
Other professionals feel that homework leaves less time for other activities such as reading for pleasure, making friends while developing social skills, playing games, exercising, resting, or just being a child. (Kohn, 2006 )
Many educators, parents and students feel that homework is just busy work and that it does not add to anything they learned in school. In order for a homework assignment to be successful, it must relate to what the students have already learned, promote critical and abstract thinking skills, and positive reinforcement should be given when the assignment is reviewed.
There are many educators and parents who still believe that homework is extremely beneficial to students. Many feel homework is beneficial because it involves literacy activities, such as reading, writing and abstract thinking to solve problems. Homework also requires cognitive organization of procedures, materials, and events helping the student to use important learning skills.
Students who do academic work outside of school are more likely to become acclimated to the academic rigor. These students develop an aptitude for academic work through extra practice and reinforcement of homework. They are also more inclined to engage in future academic work due to the reinforcement of homework. When students experience a flow in doing homework, they persist long enough to become able learners and reach academic expertise.
Many parents use homework as an indication that their children are taking their education seriously. They also see homework as tangible evidence that their children are receiving a good education. The majority of parents believe that homework enhances learning and is necessary for building good work habits.
The school board in a town in New Jersey put a limit on how much homework teachers can give. Elementary school students can only receive thirty minutes of homework per night, while high school students are allowed on sixty minutes of homework per night. The board also passed the rule that homework is not allowed to be given on the weekend (Corno, 2000).
Is this town justified in putting a limit on homework or are they overreacting? Is homework just busywork or is it really beneficial for students? Should the traditional types of homework be disposed of and more original homework assignments be created?
Cooper, Harris. “Kids Get Too Much Homework?” Time for Kids. Oct. 2006: 6.
Corno, Lyn. “Looking at Homework Differently.” The Elementary School Journal. 100.5 (2000): 530
Kohn, Alfie: “Down with Homework.” Instructor Sept. 2006: 68
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