noun home·work \ˈhōm-ˌwərk\
- : work that a student is given to do at home
- : research or reading done in order to prepare for something
Homework, the sleeping beast of the education system. The biggest indicator of how our children’s focus and values have changed. It is something every teacher acknowledges is beneficial, but is something that creates the biggest issue in instruction. I have been thinking of getting rid of homework altogether (yes, I can still assign homework here), but have also been advocating changing your homework problems into something more like an Open Middle problem.
Currently I am casually researching some things about homework, and found a few bits I need to reflect on more. The first:
There is a lot of inferences you can draw from here. But be careful to make sure the ones you do draw are not discriminatory- that is too easily done. Whatever answers you find, how can you address those to make all of your students more successful, regardless of their individual challenges?
The second quote is one that I did not immediately recognize:
Being honest, I know this to be true. It is something that I can recognize, if I assign homework I KNOW which students will have it done. What I didn’t consciously recognize is that it is creating a perpetual cycle, promoting an achievement gap between social classes. I knew this but I didn’t want to admit it, I ‘m a teacher- that means I am working my best to help each of my students. By allowing this to continue I am no longer helping each student, I’m enforcing a broken system of suppression.
The last quote is summing things up for me:
I don’t like assigning homework to students because I know of the success rate of completion. Kids are more material now than they have been. They have other focuses outside of school than homework, and typically don’t have an outside factor reminding them to complete it. But homework is a factor in math achievement (according to our national testing data, and accountability issues that arise from it), and it appears that a lot of it is needed (unless you are in Finland). This article also says that one of the authors of the study said that they weren’t advocating for adding more homework- that more than 4 hours a week isn’t particularly beneficial (which contradicts the Singapore example).
What type of practice to I assign as homework? How much? Do I assign any at all? It is equitable? These are things that are going through my head right now. What are your thoughts? Have you read other research? Let me know, I would like to hear more.