Homework has become a very conflicted idea in the teaching and learning process.  Some argue that homework is always beneficial, and we should always assign students homework to reinforce ideas.  Others argue that homework does more harm than good and we should just focus on in-class work.

My opinion sits somewhere in the middle of those.  In some instances, I think homework is a great thing and can really help students to practice and understand a new concept.  In other cases, I think homework isn’t as effective as it could be.

The first article I read, Fischer’s “Homework and the Gradual Release of Responsibility”, argues that homework can be beneficial if done in a strategic way.  The article states that homework can be used as part of a process they call the “gradual release of responsibility”.  They detail this process as, at the beginning of a lesson, the teacher assumes all the responsibility for performing a task.  As instruction progresses, the responsibility shifts from the teacher to the student and, ultimately, the student is responsible for performing the task.
The second article I read, Eren’s “Are we wasting our children’s time by giving them more homework?”, argues that homework is really only beneficial in math courses.  In other subjects, such as language arts or science, students were essentially equal whether they had been given homework or not.  It raises interesting questions.  Should we only being giving out math homework?  Is there another type of homework we could assign in other subjects that would be equally as successful?
Overall, I think as a teacher I will assign homework.  I think a certain amount of individual work is necessary, but I don’t think you need to drown kids in work, hoping that something sticks.  I think the Fischer article resonates most with me.  I think it is important that the homework you do assign has a purpose (and is purposefully planned) and adds to the learning.

4 thoughts on “Homework

  1. Abby

    I agree that homework absolutely needs to have a purpose, and that purpose needs to be clearly communicated to the students. I also agree that homework can go both ways. Teachers should really evaluate what benefit a homework assignment will bring to the classroom. There are so many ways that a teacher can assign work that allows students to think about the class content outside of the classroom walls without confining them to a reading and writing assignment. What type of unique assignments do you think you could assign to chemistry students ?

    • It could be something as simple as finding a real life example of something we’ve been discussing in class. It could help students really see the real world applications of the concepts, helping them to connect to the new information. I think if you are creative with it, homework can have value and not bore your students to tears.

  2. Steve

    I appreciate you both trying to find more valuable homework that is perhaps more application oriented. Certainly, there are issues with the different resources and time students have available to them after school. It would be great to have homework that students actually wanted to do…is that too idealistic?

    • I don’t think it’s too idealistic. I don’t think they’ll ever be asking for more homework from us, but I think if you do a good job of motivating and getting students excited about the material, they should want to do the homework.

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