The Great Homework Debate

According to Wikipedia, “Homework, or homework assignment, refers to tasks assigned to students by their teachers to be completed outside the class. Common homework assignments may include a quantity or period of reading to be performed, writing or typing to be completed, problems to be solved, a school project to be built, or other skills to be practiced.” Homework has been a one of the most discussed topic of all times in the field of school education. General education teachers place great importance on homework. They consider homework to be a serious part of the instructional program and also to provide opportunities for home-school communication. Many teachers believe that when homework is not completed, parents have not met their expectations. The concept of homework is so ingrained in our culture that people can’t and won’t think about what it might be like if we just stopped making our kids do homework. It is a reality of school life, and teachers can make homework a more positive experience by making certain that students know how to do the assignment. When homework assignments are considered carefully, with planning and instruction, the benefits can be many.

“Homework is all pain and no gain,” says author Alfie Kohn. In his book The Homework Myth, Kohn points out that no study has ever found a correlation between homework and academic achievement in elementary school, and there is little reason to believe that homework is necessary in high school. In fact, it may even diminish interest in learning, says Kohn. As children go back to school and parents negotiate balancing family time and take-home assignments, parents shared that their children are stressed out and exhausted by the volume of homework they receive. Even the parents become drill sergeants in their own home to get it all done. But on the other hand some parents also say that their kids aren’t getting enough or any homework at all and they’ve had to create their own to keep their kids challenged. Some parents complained that their kids’ homework is more busy work than helpful work to improve academic performance, while others said their kids’ homework is just right and critical to competing in a global economy.

Despite all the negative situations that homework can create for the family, it accounts for about 20 percent of the time most children spend on academic tasks. Although many students and their parents would like to see homework “just go away,” it is unlikely that homework will ever be discontinued. In conclusion, homework can be an effective instructional device. However, both experience and research suggest that the relationship between homework and achievement is influenced greatly by the student’s developmental level. Expectations for homework’s effects, especially in the short term and in earlier grades, must be modest. Further, homework can have both positive and negative effects depending on how it is used, with whom, and in what context.

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