JUST SAY NO… To Homework?

Recently, this tweet showed up at the top of my timeline:

I’m personally pretty averse to homework—as as student, I always felt like too much was given out 1, but it could have been worth it if we were learning from it. Usually, it just seemed like a time-waster. What’s the point?

One rep, two rep...I understand that sometimes, students just need “reps”—after all, that’s how we physically build muscles—but does it really help in the long run? Read the article that Alice shared, then share your thoughts.

Notes:

  1. DUH.
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12 thoughts on “JUST SAY NO… To Homework?

  1. I think repetition is an important enough reason to give homework. The no homework movement is partly due to the fact that parenting has become a relatively hands off exercise now, whereas most homework requires parental involvement – unless the child can breeze through it, and then really what is the point of giving it if it is just busy work. The fact that parents don’t have the time or the knowledge or the interest to actually do homework with their children is a big part of this. It also speaks to the parental blaming of teachers for their children’s poor performance, which is another outcome of this hands off teaching model that it seems so many folks have adopted.

    • Chris says:

      Can’t repetition be done in class? Why outside of class repetition? That’s kinda what the flipped classroom model goes after there. I’m all for more practice, but I don’t know that it’s necessary for that extra practice to necessarily be at a kid’s house, in their “free time” when they realistically should be learning social skills, hobbies, etc.

  2. admacrae says:

    Great topic Chris. I am split on it. Having seen a lot of homework over the years, I can honestly say a lot of it was low quality or didn’t enhance or support learning. Reasons for that are for another discussion maybe. Busy work which children can do without thinking and which is easy is a waste of time. Homework which is simply ticked or given a letter grade is a waste of time.
    As a 5th grade teacher though, I know I have to prepare my students for middle school and part of that is helping them to learn how to manage and plan. They reality is they will get more homework than they do now and I owe it to them to help them be ready.
    This year they best work which I recieved was when I gave them 10 days to create a modern art project following a visit to the MFA in Boston. They all did really cool stuff with tons of creativity and enthusiasm. Every student without fail spent more time on it that they needed to.
    One thing which I can’t get away from is this. . .If I can’t teach them what they need in the 6 hours a day they are in class with me, maybe there is something wrong.

    Great post

  3. Cambria Tooley says:

    Well, Chris, you and someone else beat me to the punch with this topic! I was writing it up in Google Docs to copy/paste later, and then saw it was already being used. I retweeted this article when I read it in my Twitter feed, too. I have always been against many of the reasons we give homework, and the amount of it, as well. I particularly loved Keeler’s discussion on the “divide becoming greater” because of the level of parental involvement. In my case, many of my parents do not speak English, and therefore do not have the ability to help with many of the traditional assignments. So, I have revamped my homework over the years. Last year, I made it mainly an extension of our project based classroom environment with students collaborating using Google Applications to work together online. I still use some traditional “kill and drill” types of assignments, but only because of peer pressure!

  4. judyblakeney says:

    Over the past four years, I’ve taught high school English on a block schedule. Most days, if students are willing to work in class, they can complete homework that I assign during class time or Tutorial. What I have found is that many students treated homework as a box-checking exercise. So I needed to change homework.

    The advent of the 1:1 Chromebook in my classroom taught me the importance of not giving information-based homework. I liked assigning projects that took more than one day, such as student Screencasts to teach and review material. Students knew other students would see their work, so gave their full effort.

    One sad, sad trend I saw was that students would not read. We read a few novels: The Great Gatsby and Slaughterhouse Five. I have found that reading at home is something that more than half the students just refuse to do…I struggled to solve this: Reading in class, listening to a recording, providing web-recordings to students….but the students who need to read and practice reading the most seemed to be the ones who resisted most strongly.

    Got any secret answers to that challenge?

    Judy

    • Chris says:

      No secrets to this one, but it might just be a new world, you know? Like they read less great stuff deeply and more stuff quickly. I know that’s against how we think nowadays, but I wonder if that’s not just how we have to adapt.

  5. Amanda Hensley says:

    I read this article, too, and it definitely resonated with me. I’m not sure I agree with it 100%, but I am intrigued by the idea of eliminating homework. Having said that, I don’t think I’m quite ready to do away with it altogether, but I have tweaked my homework policy and significantly lessened the amount assigned each night. I liked her idea about using class time more effectively to get more accomplished during the day so it doesn’t have to be sent home. Easier said than done, of course.

  6. Kelly Kenney says:

    I saw this tweet on twitter and read her article. I have very mixed feelings about homework. The school where I taught in AZ had a requirement for homework every night and how much we should be sending home. The one way I found homework helpful was differentiating every students homework. Was this easy? No. But it definitely was worth the time.

    • Chris says:

      Yeah, that seems like it’d be exhausting. I get differentiation, but dude… I’m just one teacher. And I’d like to have a minute to grow on my own, right? 🙂

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