The controversy about the value of Homework

There is controversy about the value of homework, with critics saying it is either ineffective or potentially harmful if the extra work is so dull that children switch off.

Few years ago, a group of French parents and teachers called for a two-week boycott of homework in schools, saying it is useless, tiring and reinforces inequalities between children. They say homework pushes the responsibility for learning on parents and causes rows between themselves and their children. And they conclude children would be better off reading a book.

This is a representative sample of what the detractors argue against having homework, but we can add others arguments opposed to homework: The school day should be long enough to allow the child to learn and write everything they need to” homework, whether good or bad, takes time and often cuts into each student’s sleep, family dinner, or freedom to follow passions outside of school”. “Not all families have the time or the necessary knowledge to help their offspring”. “Teachers don’t realise the unbelievable pressure they are putting children under”.  (should children have to do homework? comments)

And what the students have to add to this scenario against homework. For too many students, homework is too often about compliance and “not losing points” rather than about learning: “…it’s worksheets and problems at the end of the chapter. Just busywork”, “It doesn’t matter how I get the homework done, just as long as it is done before the teacher checks it. Right?” . “If I haven’t succeeded in doing the exercise at school, I don’t see how I’m going to succeed at home”.

From another standpoint, there’s pressure from external sources to set homework and a lot of teachers see that as if they must be setting homework all the time, even if it’s not necessary. There is also a parents’ common misconception that teachers and schools giving more homework are more challenging and therefore better teachers and schools. This is a false assumption. The amount of homework your son or daughter does each night should not be a source of pride for the quality of a school.

These are not good news for “homework”, but if so why it is so popular and widely applied. Maybe what we need is a new word instead of “homework”, how about “continued learning” or “ongoing growth activities”?

We want children to understand that they are always learners even outside school. So it makes no sense to even advertise a “no homework” policy in a school. It sends the wrong message. The policy should be, “No time-wasting, rote, repetitive tasks will be assigned that lack clear instructional or learning purposes.”

As a teacher, we know that by assigning homework, the teacher significantly extends the classroom learning time, that a teacher should never assign homework on a topic that has not been practiced first in the classroom. It should be difficult enough to challenge a student, but not so difficult that the student feels overwhelmed. Assignments should be graded and feedback should be provided.

Homework will be extended learning time if the students are inspired enough to want to practice the skills obtained class. Then make homework worth doing so they will want to do it.

What about Blended Learning? In Blended Learning teachers set up learning management accounts (LMS) on places like Moodle. They assigned students work and research projects through the LMS and students did the work at home. When they came to class, the teacher would either review what they had done individually, or step up the learning by providing further opportunities to apply their knowledge in group projects.

Children should be encouraged to read, write, perform arithmetic, better understand the world around them in terms of civics, science, and the arts, and, of course, develop their people skills: their emotional intelligence. This encouragement should be part of everyday family interactions outside of school, and the school should provide developmental guidance to all parents, in the appropriate languages, to help them do this. Experts agree on the value of parents taking an interest in their children’s intellectual and academic life.

Above all, schools should remind parents to never lose sight of modeling for their children the value of close relationships, support, caring, and fun. That is the most important “home work” of all.

Reference

Two hours’ homework a night linked to better school results

Homework guidelines scrapped to give headteachers greater freedom

EDUTOPIA BOOKMARKS

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Your questions on the Year 1 Phonics Screening Check answered and much more…

You may have heard about the Phonics Screening Check that all Year 1 children in English state schools will be taking in the week commencing 17th June. Well, Oxford Owl is here to help! We’ve added clear and simple advice about the check from phonics expert, Laura Sharp, plus ideas for what you can do to help your child at home. Laura will talk about what the check is for, what happens to the results and what you can do to help if your child is struggling to decode a word. 

http://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/Question/Index/9.

Young Learners English (YLE)

Cambridge English: Young Learners, also known as Young  Learners English (YLE), is a series of fun, activity-based English  language tests specially designed for children. Schools all over  the world use these tests to motivate children to learn English and show the progress they are making.

Specially designed for 7–12 year-olds to increase their motivation to learn English. Tests children’s reading, writing, listening and speaking  based on realistic everyday situations.

There are three levels – Starters, Movers and Flyers. All Cambridge English tests are aligned to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

YLE scale

The Flyers Test is roughly equivalent to the Cambridge English Test: Key (KET), in terms of difficulty but the lexis and contexts covered are suitable for young children.

There are different parts of YLE Starters:

  • Listening 4 parts: 20 questions, approx. 20 minutes
  • Reading and Writing 5 parts: 25 questions,  20 minutes
  • Speaking 5 parts: 3–5 minutes

The overall lenght for Starters Test is about 45 minutes.

If you want to find more informatian about this exam, try this link:

http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/images/24619-starters-information-for-candidates-en-.pdf

Exam Materials

All materials which relate to this exam:

Exam Handbook

Sample papers for Starters

Sample papers for Flyers and Movers:

Games

Encourage your learners with fun vocabulary practice using these interactive games.

Activities

Extend and consolidate your lessons with this selection of interactive activities.