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Homework

September 23, 2013

homework

This month, The Atlantic featured a set of articles about the merits and faults of homework.  Their expose’ has inspired me to examine my own views about the work students do after they leave class.  I’m planning to approach the topic through the eyes of a teacher, a parent, and a student.

Before beginning, I thought I would sit down on a Friday night and quickly bang out my thoughts about the pros and cons of homework.  I’m curious to see whether on not my views change as a result of what I learn during this project.

Pro

  • Allows students to practice skills independently
  • Provides students an opportunity to self-advocate
    • Example: “Mr. Qua, I am a really slow reader.  Could I get an extension on the reading and finish it over the weekend?”
  • Prepares students for future lessons to be taught in class
    • As a Harkness teacher – it’s an essential component of the class.  Students learn history during homework but come to understand it better during class discussions
  • Gives them a chance to review concepts previously taught in class
  • Provides an opportunity to learn time management and organizational skills as well as hone reading, writing, and memorization skills
  • Gives the teacher the opportunity to assess student understanding and progress

Con

  • Causes stress
  • Disrupts family life and limits the time that kids can spend being a kid
  • Impedes students from loving what they are learning
  • Can be mindless
    • A teacher should only assign homework with an actual objective.  Answering 10 questions just for the sake of having homework is a waste of time.

In my opinion, here’s how much homework students should have each night:

  • The average 6th grader should have a hour a night
  • The average 8th grader 90 minutes to two hours
  • Freshmen two hours
  • Seniors three hour limit
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