I am not a big fan of homework, either as a student or a teacher. As a student I found homework to more often than not be busy work and I quite honestly worked hard to take the easy way out of homework as often as possible (I know, I’m a great role model). Yet, I was very successful in school – both because I was able to learn during class and because much of school is not really learning (I’ll save that discussion for another post).

As a teacher, I do not often give homework. I find that in order for students to remain mentally engaged and for me to be able to help them through struggles, I need to be available. If I thought my students could learn the content I am teaching by reading the book and answering questions, I would probably not be pushing them in meaningful ways.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for practice or application and do assign homework. Yet, I do wonder if students who are able to learn from in class activities ought to be required to complete homework. Are we legitimately wasting these students’ time?

Another thought I have had concerning homework includes the ridiculous belief that students should get X minutes of homework per grade level. Most adults do not bring home that much work and why would we expect students to spend 9 hours a day working. No wonder we have lost childhood. When I was in college, I was in class for five hours, every other day (on average). So we ought to expect more from 8th graders than from college students???

Of course there are many lessons such as responsibility that can be taught with homework, but the idea of homework for homework’s sake is an idea I think we can afford to forget.

This entry was posted in Goals for Students, Learning, Teacher Actions. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Homework

  1. joetay says:

    I also think often about the purpose of assigning homework, the ends homework serves, and the need to set parameters for how often and why it is used. Like most any other issue, you can identify the two ends of a spectrum which represent two opposing extremes. On one end of the spectrum is never assigning any homework, and on the other end assigning gobs of homework on a daily basis. Upon identifying the problems presented by both extremes, a fruitful exploration of finding a middle ground is at hand.

    Through my own reflections I have formed ideas about my “philosophy of homework.” But instead of laying any of that out now, I think I’ll end this comment and invite others to dialogue about their thoughts on how they approach assigning homework.


  2. Jeremy says:

    As recently as last year we’ve been told not to assign homework. The rational? It won’t get done anyway.

    I’m concerned about my district’s defeatist attitude.

    As my wife points out, how long have you been told that “You need to do this because when you get to .” How often was it really that bad? Think about it.


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