Is Homework Helpful or Harmful?

Sep 25, 2017 by

It’s a debate that has been around the world of education for decades but seems to be intensifying in recent years. With increasing time demands on students from the extracurricular activities so important to their development into well-rounded young men and women, the amount and type of homework that they receive can be problematic.

And yet homework assignments still have an important part in the learning experience. Teachers who are limited to 45 minutes to an hour with kids each day might not be able to impart everything they want in the allotted time, which is why an access study on the students’ part can be useful. In addition, teachers certainly want to see if the kids can apply what they’ve learned in a written assignment.

Parents and students who are feeling the stress of particularly burdensome or difficult assignments need to know there are places they can turn for help, no matter the educational level in question. In the meantime, here are some different points to consider on both sides of the homework debate.

Is It Homework or Busy-Work?

Teachers must make the effort to ensure that the work they are giving students isn’t just a kind of automatic reaction to some expectations that there should be a homework assignment all the time. There is nothing more frustrating than when a student is forced to write vocabulary words or mathematical formulas multiple times so that the information can sink into their brain. If there is nothing that’s relevant to the lesson that isn’t covered in class on a particular day, there’s no need to force-feed homework. These “off-days” will make it more bearable to a student when there is a lot of homework necessary in some instances.

When Homework Doesn’t Do Any Good

If an assignment is given to a child that’s simply too challenging for them to complete at home, that’s not a helpful use of homework. In the same way, work that’s easily handled isn’t doing much good either. That’s why teachers should consider limiting their homework assignments to the kind of work that demonstrates knowledge and understanding of the lesson just completed. Or, to make better use of class time, teachers should consider having students reading ahead the night before a new lesson so that the efforts to put the new material across by the teachers aren’t as time-consuming. That might allow more class time for helpful discussion or students doing examples.

Considering the Available Time

Kids often have busy after-school schedules, with extra-curricular activities, jobs, and family obligations demanding their time. Teachers can still give assignments in this environment, but perhaps allowing students a few days to complete them instead of requiring them the very next night is a good idea. Students might be more likely to take time with their assignments, and get more out of them in turn, if they don’t have to rush through them on a particular night.

It’s likely that the debate about the usefulness of homework and the amount that should be given won’t go away anytime soon. But considering the points above can at least make the process smoother for teachers and students.

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1 Comment

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