One area that has prompted much discussion in our household surrounds the use of homework, particularly since I entered high school. Based on my own experiences, listening to my parents in their classes, and my research, I have come to the conclusion that homework could use some serious modification.
First, mastery can only be achieved by correct practice over time. My parents are advocates of explicit instruction; that is, teachers should show us what to do, give us opportunities to do it, and then give us a chance to show that we can do it on our own. Homework was designed to build on skills covered extensively in class. I should be able to complete an assignment with little to no confusion at home as long as it involves previously learned skills. I read Harris Cooper's article " Synthesis of Research on Homework " PDF , published in Educational Leadership, which is cited by many of the researchers who have studied homework and its effects.
Two recommendations stood out for me:. Many of the homework assignments I have received throughout my years of schooling have involved activities not previously practiced.
When a teacher assigns homework incorporating information that was just recently taught or not taught at all, it puts a tremendous amount of stress on students. Worse yet, I think, it puts a great deal of stress on our parents. We rely on our parents to help us be successful. Our parents have to figure out how to do the assignment and then teach it to us. Many of the projects and activities are too difficult to be done without our parents' help.
Students who have no help at home, therefore, are at a total disadvantage and their grades might falter because of this lack of assistance. If teachers use homework as additional or extended practice, we should be able to do homework with few, if any, difficulties. Our parents can simply check over our homework.
I often get calls from my friends asking me how to complete assignments, and I think about how lucky I am to have parents who can actually help me with my homework. Second, homework should not exceed two hours per night. Again, Cooper provides recommendations about the length of homework. He says the following p. If we assume that we know how to do the homework we are assigned, we should be able to complete it in a reasonable amount of time.
But consider the schedules of many high school students: We have to make time to eat dinner and complete our chores. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early. But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage.
Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night.
But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction.
We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders. The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school.
The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.
His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills.
On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children.
Homework for kids: Tap Your Feet: Understandably, some people can't concentrate with music playing. But if putting tunes on helps you plow through assignments, slip your favorite CD in the stereo or turn the radio on, and do your work to the flow of the melody.
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The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week, earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. If students do not want to study, then they have no homework (although choosing not to study might jeopardize their grades). The research I read found benefits for homework. Students do better in school if they have homework assignments and actually complete them; they get better test scores too.
Why Homework is Good for Kids. Also, students in the early grades who have not yet learned how to read are less likely to benefit from homework than students in high school. And students in. Apr 20, · A Texas charter school is apologizing after a teacher gave an assignment to an eighth grade American History class, asking students to list the positive aspects of slavery.