Homework: The Killer of Fun

Posted: February 7, 2014 in Education

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I will start off by saying that I am a strong believer in the old adage: “School is for your schooling and home is for your home.” That’s not entirely an old adage, but I like saying it. However, I should also mention that there is a great deal of responsibility placed on parents/guardians in the home to continue teaching the values placed on students throughout the day – support from home is vitally important.

I was watching a video blog from who I was ready to consider my arch-nemesis (the only other English lit blogger I’ve come across), except for the fact that he (“The Nerdy Teacher”) and I happen to agree about the concept of homework. I’ll admit, before clicking his video blog (vlog?) I was ready to jump down his throat proclaiming my hatred for homework. This didn’t have to happen – he was quite accurate. My feeling is that students have way too much homework these days – perhaps even more than I had when I was their age. Students (of most ages) are going home with hours upon hours of homework! SOMETIMES it is because they simply didn’t use class time wisely and therefore, must finish it at home. But SOMETIMES it is the teacher assigning work to be done at home. The latter is where I have a problem.

I am lucky enough to teach a course that has a way of “giving” homework without giving homework. For instance, my grade 10’s ALWAYS have reading on-the-go. Even though we may be in unit one (short stories), they have their independent study unit (novel) to work on…So, their homework is their reading. Any written tasks are done in front of me and in the classroom – this ensures I am with them every step of the way and can assist them immediately. By doing so, it also limits lecture time; I can lecture for 20 minutes and give students time to apply their knowledge of the material recently taught.

By the end of the day, students are mentally-exhausted and need time at home to engage in other activities, spend time with family, or engage in brainless activity like watching television. In my opinion (whose else would it be?), time at home is not a good opportunity for more work. Students need time to be kids, too. On the other hand, if the homework is given because time was wasted by the student in class then that’s a whole other issue – I can support that! 🙂

Especially for elementary school teachers – let the children be children!

Two final thoughts: (1) Never give homework that is NEW material. Quite simply, you’re not physically there to help them. (2) Never give homework “for practice.” If it’s important enough for practice, then it’s important enough to give in-class.

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