Homework is seldom a pleasant time for any student. Most students often wonder as to why they are writing a lengthy paper on a random topic. Most teachers and parents feel that homework is assigned to help a student review their classwork and increase their overall study time. But the real question is there is a real need for regular homework. Many experts feel that the present system of homework causes unnecessary burnout in students and puts them off studies.
Homework on a Seesaw
The American education system has always been back and forth about implementing the system of homework. At the start of the last century, many progressive educational reformers pointed out the detrimental effects of undue stress on students. This developed some amount of anti-homework sentiments. But during the mid-century, these sentiments vanished. Fear arose that America is falling behind the Soviet Union at the time of the cold war and the pressure on education surmounted. The ’60s and ’70s saw an open cultural society which claimed that school homework is affecting creativity. But in the ’80s American researchers blamed the school system for the economic downfall and homework became important again.
In the 21st century, in spite of all the debate that goes around it, the importance of homework has the upper hand. Students these days have to spend twice the amount of time on homework than what 90’s students used to. Although they have an advantage because they can find answers to homework online. Still, this homework heavy regime seems to be taking a heavy toll on students, parents, and teachers alike.
The National PTA and the National Education Association agree that every night a student should spend 10 minutes of homework per grade level. There is no specification about the quality of the homework that needs to be assigned. The guideline also seems to be ignorant of the fact that not all students have the same level of intelligence. A piece of homework might take one student 10 minutes to complete while another student might need 30 minutes to complete it. At times the reason behind the student spending more time on homework might be out of their control.
Need for New Guidelines
Many experts suggest that homework guidelines should not be governed by a centralized organization. There should be certain flexibility involved in these guidelines as well. Teachers should not mark every assignment for grades but assess a student’s overall efforts toward the learning process. They can take tests based on the assigned homework to understand how much knowledge the student has gained from doing it. This will also act as a cross-check for the teacher’s efficiency and the productivity of the lessons.
The Good Side of Homework
It cannot be completely denied that homework has certain positive effects on a student’s academic success. It gives a student an opportunity to revise and practice the lessons learned at school. However, the process of grading assignments is what creates undue pressure on the students. Many experts agree that there should be a system of providing constructive feedback instead. That will help students to maintain focus and achieve the goals better. It will also help students establish a better connection between what they learn and what they already know. Experts feel that grading homework shortens a student’s learning process and cuts it off midway.
Many experts agree that homework has a better potential of being a formative assessment than tests, provided they are not graded. Tests are not ideal to measure a student’s learning process because they are conducted after the teaching and learning process of the unit is over. Homework, on the other hand, can be used to enable students to develop a better level of focus and strive to achieve mastery of the subject. But grading the homework would hinder this entire process.
The new method also takes into consideration that different students have different learning curves. Individual feedback to homework would allow every student to improve upon their previous knowledge of the subject matter and replace it with the new knowledge. Students will also realize and appreciate their teacher’s efforts towards their learning process instead of feeling pushed for better grades.
Research has shown that homework strengthens the parent-child bond which is a key factor in a child’s learning process. It helps to reinforce the knowledge and skills learned at school. It also helps students prepare better for upcoming lectures, develop independence and discipline. With the help of certain homework, a student can learn the application of classroom knowledge in the real world. Homework should not be a rat race for better grades. Instead, it should be a time to reflect on oneself, family, knowledge, and survival in the real world.