Archive for the ‘Homework’ Category

Not Giving Homework May be a Bigger Waste

January 27, 2016

 

dog-ate-my-homework

Whilst we would all love to believe that a homework free child will use the extra time to play imaginatively. get some physical exercise in the back yard and contribute to the running of the household, this is clearly not the norm.

I am not an advocate for giving homework, but at the same time, I realise that revising the skills learned in class over the course of the week may be more beneficial than giving children the extra time to waste in front of a screen.

It seems my colleagues are split when it comes to the benefits of homework:

 

STUDENTS love to complain about it, and only half of teachers feel homework is “critically important” to children’s development.

But just 32 per cent of primary teachers believe their students have too much work after hours, compared with 22 per cent of high school teachers.

Catholic primary educators were the most concerned about the workload, with 40 per cent thinking it is too high.

One in five state secondary principals felt students did too much homework, compared with 31 per cent at independent schools and 30 per cent at Catholic.

Mill Park Heights Primary principal Deborah Patterson said she was more interested in students learning creatively at home, like helping with the cooking, cleaning and shopping, and playing outdoors.

“Research is showing kids should be more active, out there playing and doing as much as they can,” she said.

 

Click on the link to read Stop Giving Kids Useless Homework

Click on the link to read Cats vs Homework. What Could Help Children More?

Click on the link to read New Graph Revealing How Much Time is Spent on Homework Around the World

Click on the link to read What is Your Position on the Homework Debate?

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Stop Giving Kids Useless Homework

October 22, 2015

useless-homework

Put questions over the merits of homework to a side for a moment and focus on a much more important question: What is the benefit of giving homework that doesn’t reflect a skill or skills currently taught in the class?

Too often teachers photocopy a random comprehension exercise or mental maths worksheet and call it homework. That isn’t homework – it’s time wasting!

Homework should reflect the concepts and skills covered in class during that week. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t be prescribed:

 

A WILLIAMSTOWN family is in a stand-off with the local primary school over homework for their nine-year-old daughter that they believe is of “little to no value”.

Mother Lara Wood told the principal of Williamstown North Primary school, Jim Cahill, that she and her husband had decided they would not force year 3 daughter Leia to complete out of school work unless they felt it was more valuable than free time.

Ms Wood said she was “very surprised” to receive an email from Mr Cahill saying compulsory homework is school policy and if Leia did not complete it her grades may be marked down and she may be kept in at recess or lunchtime.

“I was really taken aback (that) he was saying I really don’t have a choice, if she doesn’t do the homework she’ll be kept in, which really upset me that she would be feeling punished,” said Ms Wood.

 

Whilst I don’t condone Ms. Wood’s protestations – she does have a point.

 

Click on the link to read Cats vs Homework. What Could Help Children More?

Click on the link to read New Graph Revealing How Much Time is Spent on Homework Around the World

Click on the link to read What is Your Position on the Homework Debate?

Click on the link to read The Adult Version of the Dog that Ate my Homework

Cats vs Homework. What Could Help Children More?

March 16, 2015

cate-homework

Teacher and writer, David MacLean, is of the belief that a cat is more beneficial for children than homework:

 

I hate homework. Or rather, I hate the emphasis placed on the academic tasks set by schools and teachers to be done at home. I don’t have a problem with true “home work”, however.

I have two students – siblings – who are the product of the “tiger mother” mentality. They ask for homework. Their school gives them homework and their tutors give them homework. They insist on being given homework, as if it will somehow make them better students and better academics. It won’t.

Research indicates that homework of the academic kind has minimal benefits – if any at all. Studies have indicated there is no correlation between homework and improved academic achievement. Indeed, some of the poorest academic results come from countries with high homework expectations. In France, President Francois Hollande has introduced educational reforms to ban homework. There are inequities when it comes to those who have parental support at home or access to technology and even tutors who will help them with that homework.

The “home work” of which I approve is a different variety. I was astonished when those two students of mine were awed by a cat leaping on to the top of a fence. They were amazed at the feline dexterity with which it made its way along a beam and found its way into a tree, generating squawks of fear from the resident birds. In my conversation with them, I discovered that these two charges of mine did not really know much about cats. Their parents did not let them keep one and they were too busy going from tutor to tutor to have time to look after a cat. There was a whole world of wonder that was being denied them for the sake of academic efficiency. There was no time to pause and wonder.

There is much to be gained from “home work” where such reflection over a task is possible. That time to read a book simply because it is fascinating or because you are absorbed in the way it is written is essential. Think about what you could learn from kicking around a footy – the co-ordination, the bad language when you fluff a kick, the need to learn social skills to have someone kick the ball back to you.

Mucking in at dinner time preparing the salad to go with the meal or learning how to avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables for the casserole are all skills and part of a larger contextualised learning. These activities give meaning and purpose to what we do in the classroom – or, at least, they should. It is often hard to see how what we do in class has application in the wider world. More often than not, the purpose of school work is assessment.

Most importantly, “home work” should be undertaken with parents as participants rather than supervisors. That conversation you have will build vocabulary. That book you read to your child will create a sense of the importance of literature. The article you discuss from the newspaper will help build a greater perspective of the world and what we should value.

Those students of mine were picked up in an SUV and whisked away to a piano lesson or some other tutorial session. In the back of my mind was the notion of organising an excursion to the RSPCA where cats can be adopted. Unfortunately, that institution would prefer families with time to spare and who would delight in what a cat could teach them. There is a catalogue of wonder in “home work”. The other homework simply makes you catatonic.

 

Click on the link to read New Graph Revealing How Much Time is Spent on Homework Around the World

Click on the link to read What is Your Position on the Homework Debate?

Click on the link to read The Adult Version of the Dog that Ate my Homework

Click on the link to read Fourth Graders Quizzed about Infidelity in Homework Assignment

Click on the link to read Young Child Shows Dissatisfaction with his Homework (Photo)

 

 

New Graph Revealing How Much Time is Spent on Homework Around the World

December 18, 2014

homework

Those who are against homework are probably shaking their heads right now.

 

Click on the link to read What is Your Position on the Homework Debate?

Click on the link to read The Adult Version of the Dog that Ate my Homework

Click on the link to read Fourth Graders Quizzed about Infidelity in Homework Assignment

Click on the link to read Young Child Shows Dissatisfaction with his Homework (Photo)

Click on the link to read Why I Changed My Mind About Homework

What is Your Position on the Homework Debate?

September 28, 2014

hwork

I used to be very much against homework, but have softened my stance insomuch as I believe that homework is preferable to hours watching television or playing on a game console. It is interesting that experts are still divided on this matter:

 

DESPERATE parents are hiring private tutors to turbo-charge their children’s education because they are unhappy with the amount and quality of homework set by schools.

Education experts are so divided about the merits of homework that growing numbers of families are signing up their children for outside coaching to supplement classwork.

Education insiders have told The Saturday Telegraph that homework policies vary enormously between schools and often between teachers at the same school.

The homework row has been fuelled by a parliamentary inquiry in Victoria that found it had almost no academic benefits for primary school students.

And in France a plan by President Francois Hollande to abolish homework in French schools reignited a long-running debate.

The Australian Tutoring Association said many parents enrolled their children in private coaching to ensure they received “structured support” outside of school.

Chief executive Mohan Dhall said homework was often given to primary school children without explaining why it was set and without an obvious reason and purpose.

“There does not seem to be a sense of order or purpose about school homework — just an ad-hoc program that does not always meet the needs of kids,” Mr Dhall said. “A lot of parents think it is unstructured — additional work for children needs to be meaningful and engage them in higher-order thinking.”

Teachers argue there is no one-size-fits-all policy for homework.

Some experts claim children should spend their time after school playing and letting their brains wind down so they can get a good night’s sleep to absorb the day’s learning.

Newly released data reveals Australian children have the fifth greatest homework load globally, with 15-year-olds receiving about six hours’ a week compared to the OECD average of 4.9 hours.

The research shows private school students do about two hours of homework more than their peers in public schools.

Schools are also facing a groundswell of opposition to homework as doctors advise it is bad for children’s sleep and educators and academics claim it is of little benefit.

 

Click on the link to read The Adult Version of the Dog that Ate my Homework

Click on the link to read Fourth Graders Quizzed about Infidelity in Homework Assignment

Click on the link to read Young Child Shows Dissatisfaction with his Homework (Photo)

Click on the link to read Why I Changed My Mind About Homework

Click on the link to read Leave Parents Alone When it Comes to Homework

The Adult Version of the Dog that Ate my Homework

January 5, 2014

tax

It seems that excuses for not submitting homework doesn’t stop at the end of Elementary school. Adults have had a go at the humorous, yet totally ineffective ploy of making excuses for not doing their homework. Although, in their case it’s not maths or a book report, but rather their tax returns!

The following are the top ten excuses for not having submitted a tax return:

1. My pet goldfish died (self-employed builder)

2. I had a run-in with a cow (Midlands farmer)

3. After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else (London woman)

4. My wife won’t give me my mail (self-employed trader)

5. My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him (Leicester hairdresser)

6. I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play (Coventry writer)

7. My bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is (a working taxi driver)

8. I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (South East man)

9. Our business doesn’t really do anything (Kent financial services firm)

10. I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns (London accountant).

Click on the link to read Fourth Graders Quizzed about Infidelity in Homework Assignment

Click on the link to read Young Child Shows Dissatisfaction with his Homework (Photo)

Click on the link to read Why I Changed My Mind About Homework

Click on the link to read Leave Parents Alone When it Comes to Homework

Click on the link to read Parents Urged to do the Job of a Teacher

Fourth Graders Quizzed about Infidelity in Homework Assignment

February 18, 2013

 

gilbert

Apparently one is never too young to delve into the issue of infidelity:

Arizona fourth grader Kyera McCloskey got an accidental lesson in infidelity earlier this week.

According to ABC15, McCloskey and her fellow students at the Playa Del Rey Elementary School in Gilbert, Ariz. were given a very grown-up homework assignment on Monday. The students were prompted to read about various situations, describe what was happening in them and then offer a response or solution. One such “situation” was about a woman finding a hair clip underneath her bed with another woman’s hair in it.

McCloskey suspected the question had to do with cheating, but consulted her mother for clarification.

“I kinda had my mom help me with the answer a little bit because I didn’t want to go too deep into what it was trying to ask me,” she said.

After McCloskey’s mother called the school, the teacher quickly apologized, admitting she had not read the assignment carefully.

“That’s not a subject matter the school needs to bring up to my child,” McCloskey’s mother said.

But this isn’t the first time elementary school students have received an inappropriate homework assignment. In February 2012, parents of a Queens kindergartner were up in arms over a spelling worksheet that included violent images, such as a gun and an armed robber.

 

Click on the link to read Young Child Shows Dissatisfaction with his Homework (Photo)

Click on the link to read Why I Changed My Mind About Homework

Click on the link to read Leave Parents Alone When it Comes to Homework

Click on the link to read Parents Urged to do the Job of a Teacher

Click on the link to read This is What You Get for Doing Your Homework

Click on the link to read Experts Call For Homework to Be Abolished

Click on the link to read The Case in Favour of Homework

Young Child Shows Dissatisfaction with his Homework (Photo)

January 12, 2013

 

homewo

I love it when a child stands up for what he/she feels is fair and just. Above is a homework sheet where a 5-year-old was expected to complete a sentence that describes a man hitting a dog. The child thinks otherwise.

 

Click on the link to read Why I Changed My Mind About Homework

Click on the link to read Leave Parents Alone When it Comes to Homework

Click on the link to read Parents Urged to do the Job of a Teacher

Click on the link to read This is What You Get for Doing Your Homework

Click on the link to read Experts Call For Homework to Be Abolished

Click on the link to read The Case in Favour of Homework

Why I Changed My Mind About Homework

November 12, 2012


When I started my teaching journey I was dead against homework. I didn’t see the value of prescribing work at the end of a long school day. I preferred to let my students take on after-school activities like sports and dance and hoped that the extra time could be used to help with chores and spending quality time with the family. I also felt that homework was a common cause of friction in a family. Homework tends to be the subject of arguments between parents and their children. By avoiding homework, I had hoped that I could play my part in reducing tensions between my students and their parents.

And then I changed my mind.

It wasn’t a complete 180 degree turn. I have observed the myriad of arguments against homework, and as hypocritical as it sounds, I agree with nearly all of them.

Yet, I couldn’t help but change my position.

Two reasons triggered my change of heart:

1. I had noticed that children nowadays are involved with fewer after-school activities than ever before. In fact, many believe that children are less active now than they have ever been. Students seem to spend most of their after-school time glued to a screen. Many even eat dinner in front of a screen. From iPads to iPhones, laptops to television sets, children aren’t using their home time as effectively as I’d hoped. Of course some are, but most clearly aren’t. If my 10-15 minutes of homework a day is enough to break up a child’s daily screen time regimen, I can’t see that as a bad thing.

2. As much as I get a kick out of the classroom breakthroughs, there is nothing more satisfying than watching a child succeed on their own. Too much of the emphasis in teaching involves spoonfeeding the curriculum. The teacher is always there, always supporting , always guiding. Some children capatalise on this arrangement and defer every challenge back to the teacher. This is not altogether a bad thing. The child does progress that way. They do learn skills from the extra time with their classroom teacher. But what they don’t seem to learn is self sufficiency. They don’t learn how to do things on their own, think for themselves. Achievement is the greatest ingredient in developing a positive self-esteem. True achievement occurs when one works through a problem without any immediate help.

The trick then is too ensure that the child doesn’t run to their parents for assistance. That would defeat the whole entire purpose of homework. That’s why I administer homework with the following underlying principles:

  1. Homework should be revision.  It should not introduce a new concept or skill.  It should simply be a vehicle for students to demonstrate how well they understood what was covered in class that week.  If the child is bringing home work that was not introduced in class, I advise you to see the teacher.
  2. Most teachers give a few days to complete the homework.  I strongly urge my students to use night one to read over the homework and circle any question that they don’t understand.  Then, instead of approaching their parents, come see me the next day with anything that may have caused confusion.  Of course, I am not restricting the parents from helping their kids, I am merely offering my help as the first option.  In my opinion, parents have already spent most of their youth completing homework, they have paid their debt to education and should now be allowed to enjoy a homework-free life.
  3. When the student approaches the teacher early on about difficulties in the homework, they are showing a great deal of responsibility and assertiveness.  This isn’t lost on me.  So if the students maintain this sort of dialogue with me, extensions are likely to be given should they struggle to meet the deadline.
  4. My advice to parents when assisting their children through a homework task is patience and perspective.  Offer your services by all means, but ensure that their children are the ones that end up having ownership of their own work.  Kids are not proud of their parents homework, they are proud of their own achievements.  Whilst instilling independence and confidence in children may sometimes feel like an overwhelming proposition, the payoff is huge.  I would rather my students hand in a piece of homework that they took ownership of that was full of mistakes than a brilliant piece ultimately done by mum or dad.

It’s not that I disagree with the opponents of homework (in fact I agree with most of what they say), I just think that homework isn’t the evil some make it out to be.

Click on the link to read Leave Parents Alone When it Comes to Homework

Click on the link to read Parents Urged to do the Job of a Teacher

Click on the link to read This is What You Get for Doing Your Homework

Click on the link to read Experts Call For Homework to Be Abolished

Click on the link to read The Case in Favour of Homework

 

Leave Parents Alone When it Comes to Homework

October 7, 2012

 

I always tell the parents of my students when they inquire about homework that it is NOT their job to do homework. They already had their lifetime supply of homework when they were a child. Why should they have to revisit primary school homework as an adult?

I am expected to give homework as it is part of my school’s philosophy. Even so, I am very careful that the homework is merely a revision of what I am covering in class. There is nothing new and it’s certainly not a random worksheet designed to keep the students occupied.

I then encourage my students to merely read their homework on the first night (they don’t have to actually begin it), and if there is anything they don’t understand, to circle it and let me know about it the next school day. Explaining the homework is NOT the responsibility of parents, it’s the responsibility of teachers. No parent should ever feel compelled to sit down and figure out their child’s schoolwork.

The home is for quality family time not the stresses and arguments that occur when children rely on their parents to spoon feed them their homework answers.

That is why I found this article particularly grating:

TEACHERS want parents to sign homework contracts so mums and dads acknowledge what is expected of them and their children.

The age-old homework debate about what’s too much and what’s not enough has been thrust back into the spotlight after Federal Parliament set up an inquiry into teaching, including the “influence of family members”.

Queensland Teachers’ Union president Kevin Bates said parents needed to be involved in their children’s after-school learning.

“It’s at the point of enrolment. You sign-up, like a contract (and) it provides expectations … some schools already do it.”

It comes as the Australia Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos has conceded homework had become a burden for some families who were struggling with modern life.

“There are growing levels of parental anxiety (with homework). Every parent wants their kids to have an edge,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“I’ve heard it said before that homework is a burden on parents.”

He said some parents claimed their kids got too much and others wanted more. Some parents did homework for their children.

Age-appropriate homework was proven to help children learn. However, schools with students from lower socio-economic backgrounds should get more government funding to help set up systems such as homework centres, he said.

Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said he understood how parents had become anxious about helping with their children’s schoolwork.

“It’s our job to make sure we work with them and point out to them that your child doesn’t need to get everything right,” Mr Langbroek said.

He said parents had complained to him, saying, “I’m not a teacher”.

Click on the link to read Parents Urged to do the Job of a Teacher

Click on the link to read This is What You Get for Doing Your Homework

Click on the link to read Experts Call For Homework to Be Abolished

Click on the link to read The Case in Favour of Homework


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