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.