Teachers' Union Debating Ending Homework For Students

from the ah,-if-only-I-were-a-kid-again... dept

In the past few years, we've seen quite a few reports suggesting that homework doesn't help kids learn along with some other reports questioning traditional learning techniques. However, it's still a bit surprising for it reach the level where a teachers' union in the UK is already considering a proposal to ditch homework for most younger students and drastically scale back how much there is for older students (found via Digg). The reasoning is a bit different. The older reports we saw pointed out that homework wasn't particularly effective at helping kids learn. The reasoning for this new proposal is that homework makes kids "unhappy and anxious" and that leads to stressed out kids and potential disciplinary problems. It would be interesting to see any actual research supporting one side or the other here. I think it's great that teachers aren't just assuming that homework must be good, since that's how it's always been done, but that doesn't necessarily mean it should be done away with completely.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 3:51am

    Oh God. That really prepares them for College and the real world. Whatever happened to disciplining and raising the kids? Huh? Whiney GenX-ers are boo-hoo the wife needs to give up her job and my BMW if I spent time with the kids.


    On another note, somebody please show Margaret Spellings the way to the curb. She shouldn't be running the Department of Education. She ONLY has a Bachelors degree.. not in Education, but in something like Polysci or Business.

    The least you could do is humor us and at least put someone with a Masters in the top ED spot in the country. After all, you need a Masters (in Education) to run a Elementary School. If I ran the country, we'd have someone with a PHd or multi-discipline (CompSci/Education) there.

    God we're loosing our entire competitive edge because of the whining generation.

     

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    Fastjack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 4:02am

    Whiners, you say?

    I believe the issue at hand was education reform in the UK, not your personal life or the education level of the Secretary of Education in the US.

    Also, as to your comment regarding the 'real world', the world doesn't give homework, it just expects you to do things one way or another. While there will be expectations of people in the working world, they are more on the level of a long-term project which needs to be quantified, not a constant flurry of busywork. Finally, why are you worried about education reform getting kids ready for college? Last I checked, colleges and universities fell under the banner of education.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 4:30am

    Errr. Scaling back homework for the younger years is all well and fine. However, Fastjack, cutting back homework for the senior years (and the prep-years for those) is the stupidest thing that could ever... *ever* be done.

    Homework is critical to success in the later years of school and will remain so unless international curriculum changes are made, but these changes would have to gut the programs and render them useless. Homework is absolutely CRITICAL at later years.

     

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    LoJack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 4:33am

    Dude, that's my car

    As more information comes available, it would be helpful to see a raise in standards and/or additional curriculum added on a yearly basis. Additionally, more emphasis on technology in schools is needed instead of lowering the curriculum bar and teaching technology as an afterthought.

    Take the educational system and school culture of South Korea or Finland as an example.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 4:50am

    "Homework" is a pretty broad term...

    What exactly are they covering under that? Taking home some math questions to work on? Reading a passage for tomorrow's class? Putting in some extra time at home on a coursework project?

    The usefulness of homework is extremely subjective, surely. To get the hang of certain things, you have to just practice them over and over. Certain math equations need a decent bit of repetition before you can do them easily. Vocabulary and spelling ability don't spontaneously increase, you need to put time and effort into reading and writing. There isn't enough time in the school day (roughly 9am-3:30pm in the UK nowadays I think, mine was 8:45am to 3:10pm) to do that, so kids are gonna have to be given some work to do at home.

    But then other homework is silly and pointless (I won't list my ideas on what silly and pointless are, since some people will argue that they're not silly and are useful. As I said, subjective).

     

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    bldkcstark, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 4:51am

    Real Problem

    As an engineer with a wife who is a teacher with a masters degree in education, and three kids in one of the better schools in the country I feel compelled to give my point of view as it has been shaped by my wife and family. The single largest thing wrong with our school system in the U.S. is that every state tests their kids to a different level. It is impossible to compare the education of one state to another, as is so often done in the mainstream media, because the tests vary in difficulty from state to state. I live in Indiana. We use one of the more difficult tests in this state and Indiana consistently shows up as middling to fair in comparisons. This does not hold true to actual performance when children are tested using a nationally standardized test. Indiana students rank in the top 10% when compared fairly. This indicates that the states that are ranking higher in yearly comparisons are using a easier tests or test methods. I will leave out the sham of No Child Left Behind in my rant, but I am sure I will be compelled to give my unwarranted opinion on it sooner or later.

     

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    Fastjack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 4:53am

    Sorry about that, LoJack, didn't realize there would be a discrepancy. I certainly agree that we need to emphasize technology more in our schools, though the already-loaded cirriculum in some states would make it difficult to do so.

    And Anonymous, why is homework so critical in those later years? From what I've seen, there is actually a decrease in homework from grammer and secondary schools to colleges. The idea, I believe, is that the student is responsible for knowing how he or she learns best, and is encouraged to do additional work if it helps him or her to learn the material. Do you think this is a bad idea?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:01am

    Oh yes, the old "keep 'em stupid, so they don't become disruptions" method to cure the "ooops, we forgot to teach them discipline".

     

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    NovaTheCat, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:05am

    Limits

    I think there should be limits on the amount of homework for grade school, perhaps no more than 1 hour's worth. That would eliminate most of the senseless and dull repetition. When I was in grade school in the '60's, I would occasionally have homework that required an entire evening to do. Children do need some social and family time in their day.

     

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    LoJack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:12am

    Re:

    I certainly agree that we need to emphasize technology more in our schools, though the already-loaded cirriculum in some states would make it difficult to do so.

    I agree, but possibly it could be re-prioritized. I remember playing Oregon Trail and Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. Today, most kids learn these basic essentials (such as word processing, even CSS development) at home, by proxy of Facebook, MySpace and emoticons, etc.

    Wouldn't you say basic data mining, which enables synthesis throughout the thought process seems more important and equitable skill in the future? Some may argue that it's too complex to teach in primary or secondary education, but fifteen years ago, making a hypercard stack was not worthy of the traditional classroom setting either.

     

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    Fastjack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:14am

    I don't understand the first part of your comment. With sufficient support available and classes for younger students impressing the importance of knowing how you learn, there is no conceivable effort to "keep 'em stupid". Rather, the idea is to help every student learn more effectively by not relying on a single monolithic system.

    Also, there are more ways to teach discipline than through homework. Do you honestly think that without homework, we'd all turn to lives of crime? The idea is absurd, because even if it were playing the pivitol role, it would be replaced by another method of teaching discipline; either natural forces would usher in a new way to learn self-control, or policy makers would be forced to ensure that some measure is taken to account for any perceived lack thereof.

     

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    LoJack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:19am

    Re: Re:

    Let me clarify--

    Thought synthesis within the context of a specific discipline, be it Science, Math, English, etc.

     

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    duane, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:20am

    limits, etc.

    There are a couple of problems here with what is or isn't considered "homework." In the subjects I teach (Social Studies and Language Arts/English), reading is a core component. As someone earlier stated, there isn't really enough time in the school day to do everything. That's also the problem with arbitrary time limits on homework; what takes 15 minutes for one kid may take an hour for another.

    As to FastJack's suggestion that "homework" (which I define as any work done outside of classtime) _decresases_ in college, I have no idea what colleges he's talking about, but the general guideline is that for every hour of class, you will need to be spending at least another hour outside of class doing something for it. At what point does the homework decrease?

     

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    Doug, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:23am

    Apples and Oranges? Homework and Education?

    Surely, "homework" is as broad and nebulous a term as could be used in this discussion. As a parent and former teacher, I once heard a principle that home work should not exceed 10 minutes per grade level. That sounds good in elementary school, but two hours of homework a night for a high school senior? The real issue should be, what academic work, completed individually at home, would enhance a child's overall education? Furthermore, 30 minutes of homework for one child may well translate to 60 minutes for another child. Why is there never a discussion of increasing the amount of time that children spen in the classroom every day, and also of increasing the number of days that children spend in school each year? Oh, I know, I know. this would mean increasing costs, which would mean increasing taxes. But if 15 years as a teacher and many more than that as a parent have taught me anything, it is that homework is NOT a substitute for classroom instruction.

     

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    Fastjack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:24am

    I must say I agree, LoJack. I didn't mean to imply that technology should take a back burner to everything else; I simply meant that it would take an involved level of restructuring. I remember learning basic programming and playing around with Odell Lake way back when, and I know that it helped not just me, but a number of people in the school. It really is a shame that the computer has been pushed almost entirely out of some schools - the school system where I live just recently killed off computer classes for kindergartners. It's a nice big hole in my heart - one of the reasons I first learned to read well was so that I could use a computer.

     

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    Just Saying, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:27am

    Most homework is nothing but busy work...

    There is some advantage to some homework, but frankly back when I was in high school homework was mostly to help raise the GPA. I refused to do the busy work that was about half the grade of most classes, where the only thing that was looked at was if you had done the homework. I would tutor other students, ace the exams, and participate in class. In spite of this, the only reason I had a decent GPA, is because I would go to my teachers and point this out in order to negotiate a grade that better reflected my knowledge of the material presented in class.

    While there is much to be said for reinforcement of lessons - when you turn around and go over the homework the next day - that is the then at least the third time that the work is being reviewed. If the homework was at least reviewed, and advice or comments were provided, then it may at least serve a purpose.

    I admit that I am one that does respond well to the classroom environment, but assigning homework for no other purpose than to raise the class average has never made sense to me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:28am

    Re: limits, etc.

    Duane, just a headsup- your website has been hacked.

     

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    Fastjack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:29am

    Just for clarification, I'm personally defining homework as assignments due within roughly two days or less, excluding labs, tests, and reading/studying. Extended projects and reading are a vital part of our education system, and I see them as far less likely to be phased out, since they cover more material than could conceivably be addressed by even the most dedicated of professors. What I meant by a decrease in homework in college, therefore, was NOT necessarily a decrease in total effort, merely a decline in daily assignments.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:31am

    As a product of the Georgia Public School System, I have to agree with Fastjack. I was flooded with "busy" work in high school that I never did...which equated to about a 2.2 graduating GPA. In college I was able to show up to class, go home, study things that I knew I needed help with, then take tests and graduated with a 3.5. I don't believe that 3 or 4 hours of homework every evening is necessary... Especially if, like I was, a student is involved with a sport and/or working because their parents can't afford to just buy them everything want. I learned what I needed to work on and what I didn't and I focused on those areas.

     

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    Danno, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:45am

    I'm not convinced that homework helps kids learn, or at certain types of homework.

    I mean, I have to help my sister with her math homework quite a bit, and the thing I find is that the explanations she has in her notes or in her textbook are either non-existent or completely useless. It seems to be the same sort of thing in her Science books too. I either have to derive the intent of the formulas presented or search online for an explanation that examines the actual process.

    I mean, maybe I just had good teachers, but I was always impressed upon that I should be able to reason through my answer. If I had good processes, but arithmetical or small factual errors, they would still give me credit for most of my work. I don't know if it's the No Child Left Behind program influencing curriculum since then, but I don't see that emphasis reflected in the new material.

     

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    LoJack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    Re:

    These are strong the reasons why the education system fails with GT identification, because GT identification is based around the student's ability to adhere to socratic method, not ability to synthesize data from multiple disciplines, which is usually seen as a "challenge" to the instructor.

    I think No Child is setup to fail when it comes to identification creation of curriculum that challenges students. Making it easier doesn't work, and less homework makes it easier. However, if the institution itself was setup such that teachers themselves are encouraged to be "Lifelong Learners" themselves it could remedy some issues...

     

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    Daniel (profile), Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:49am

    Did ANYONE Follow the Links?

    This is for everyone predicting the self destruction of the British education system with the end of homework.

    Homework does NOT help people learn. It never has.

    The story has links DOCUMENTING this - that's what the bright blue words are. Try checking them out some time - they really do add to the story.

     

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    Fastjack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:50am

    Quite honestly, I almost didn't graduate high school because I didn't do a lot of the busywork - I managed to learn quite a bit, and I got excellent grades on almost every single test I took, but there is a watering down of comprehension in the score by the sheer mass of repetitive assignments. I can't claim that I had any altruistic motive of any sort - one of my gifts is learning things relatively quickly, and I couldn't stand to do review for hours. My college GPA, however, is a 3.78, and I haven't had any issues with motivation at work, so one of two situations must have occured: either the homework was unable to measure my actual work ethic, or I was able to build it up on my own without homework. Whatever way you dice it, it wasn't assignment #381 that helped me.

    Also, I'd just like to say that I was raised upper-middle class. I realize that, although I did graduate from a public school and my life wasn't smooth as peanut butter, I didn't have to deal with a lot of financial issues, amongst other things. It's people like Anonymous Coward and those below him or her who have to bear the true hardships of our society. Working because there isn't enough money to feed your dreams, let alone your simple wants, while participating in a sport, all the while hoping you'll be able to finish today's review on the justice system, takes more discipline, cunning, and courage than I've ever had to exhibit, let alone been able to.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 5:54am

    Re: Did ANYONE Follow the Links?

    And your proof is where? Some study that you made up in your head. No, because you wouldn't do that homework to find such a study.

     

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    Fastjack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 6:02am

    To be fair, I could find no studies linked to from the story. There were reports, but they have no real scientific backing, and are intended to demonstrate how teachers feel about the topic and how they may act, not detailing whether one method or the other has actually shown to be better. I'm interested in if there actually have been any studies, and if not, why one couldn't be started - it seems like it could be cheaper than No Child Left Behind was.

     

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    Joseph, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 6:12am

    I think the US could do with some homework reform

    I'm no longer in school, I have a 4 month old who is no where near entering school. I do think that there is too much homework and that younger kids shouldn't have any.

    By younger I mean 3-8 year olds. Once a kid hits 5th grade give them some or a little more homework then they got in 4th. a few projects...help them learn time management but don't pile it on. My brother had to write a 30 page report when he was in 5th grade. I think it had all the margin/size/spacing requirements that you are required to use in highschool.

    Can anyone here rationalize why a 5th grader is writing a 30 page report? The teacher gave him a D- for possible plagarism too, my mother argued it up to a B since she helped him work on the project and knew the allegation was bogus. (keep in mind this was back in 1990)

    Homework has only gotten worse for most kids since the 90's. It's time teachers started cutting back, it's more work for both parties.

     

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    LoJack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 6:22am

    Re:

    I'm trying to find something concrete as well, but all I can find is a journal article (Enter Credit card)
    titled
    The Homework-Achievement Relation Reconsidered: Differentiating Homework Time, Homework Frequency, and Homework Effort.

    Abstract:
    The popular claim that homework time is positively related to achievement and achievement gains was tested in three studies. Time on homework was compared and contrasted with other indicators of homework assignment (i.e., homework frequency) and students' homework behavior (i.e., homework effort). The results of the three studies indicate that homework assignments are positively associated with achievement (class-level effect) and that doing homework is associated with achievement gains (student-level effect), but that the positive effects of homework assignments and completion are not captured by the "time on homework" measure.

    Oh well. I give up.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 6:31am

    Re: I think the US could do with some homework ref

    Yikes! Was the teacher fresh out of college?

     

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    a.c. O'ward, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 6:34am

    Re: Real Problem

    as a former public school teacher in the U.S. I can attest that this is true.
    Provisions of the NCLBA have hurt far more than helped.

     

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    Just One More Whiney GenX-er, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 6:35am

    Re: Anonymous Coward

    You had interesting thoughts on homework. I also enjoyed your blasting of Margaret Spellings' qualifications. Funny how, after all that, you still managed to misuse the article "A/AN". It should be "to run AN elementary school." Talk about your "People in glass houses". Do your homework and proofread next time.

     

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    Dusty Fingers, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 7:00am

    Anonymous Cowards

    Anonymous Coward clearly didn't do his logic homework. Attacking people instead of the issue makes you look unintelligent.

    I didn't do much of my homework in high school. I feel like I was poorly set up for college (I struggled with being assigned 150-200 pages of reading per-night) and in some ways I was unprepared for the real world.

    I see a lot of people talking about discipline as though being disciplined means you are a law abiding, typically safe to be around human. Discipline applies to personal work ethic though, and I think homework is important for that reason. Any meaningful job is going to require that you work on projects in your unpaid time these days. Having the discipline to complete projects is an important tool that you should start learning at least around 5th grade in my opinion.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 7:14am

    Re: Anonymous Cowards

    So that wasn't an attack? Hmmm....

     

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    Kilgore Trout, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 7:20am

    Re:

    A better idea would be to do away with the Federal Department of Education, and give that power back to the states, where it belongs. At least, that's what the Constitution says, for whatever that's worth.

     

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    Daniel (profile), Mar 13th, 2008 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Did ANYONE Follow the Links?

    how about looking at concrete results. The Wall Street Journal recently pointed out that Finnish students are the best performing students in the world, but they are assigned little to no homework:

    http://tinyurl.com/2a7vw5

    Prior to that, Time magazine pointed to similar results among other top performing countries as well as to research done by Duke University's Harris Cooper, which showed no correlation between homework and school success.

    http://tinyurl.com/28o92a

    While we're asking for proof, where's your evidence to the contrary?

     

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    Steven, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 7:39am

    don't mind me drowning in homework...

    Being a junior in high school, I know what it is like to have homework. Personaly, I don't mind having long term projects. However, when a teacher assignes 3 or 4 pages of homework (not including english), it can take long periods of time. Thankfully, I don't get any chemistry homework, but I get trig/adv algebra, spanish, history, and english. It's usually only math that screws me over. I end up getting a lot of homework that I don't understand. The only days we can stay after school are tue, wend, thur. And I work thurdays, so cuts down my time to 4 hours a day. (2 hours each day). So if I start off doing the homework wrong, how will I learn? Most of the time, I don't have huge amounts of homework, but math is what really gets me.

    Long term projects are fine, homework due the next day isn't.

     

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    LoJack, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Did ANYONE Follow the Links?

    I am always skeptical about books co-authored by those outside of the educational profession. The Time Mag reference cites a book written by a Journalist and a Lawyer, and even though it cites several studies without reading the context, it's difficult to discern if it has gone through a peer-review process.

    As for finns.. XD we are a crazy bunch, and quite cynical. However, again, the story cites no academic evidence or peer-review.

    have you considered starting your search at
    eric.ed.gov
    or
    www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/956

     

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    Johnny Applseed, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 7:55am

    College Homework

    Being a current college student, i feel that sometimes homeworks is a necessary tool in learning the material. For example, my calculus teach isn't exactly what i would call clear or precise, and i find that i have learned what he was trying to convey in class only after i've completed the homework. by the same token, however, i feel that teachers should not assign an absurd amount of homework. teachers need to be considerate and keep in mind that almost every student has multiple classes. They also need to understand that kids need socialization to help them advance in the real world. personally, i feel 1 1/2 - 2 hours of homework a week is more than sufficient and any more than that is unnecessary.

     

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    Rich, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 8:04am

    Teachers' Union Debating Ending Homework For Stude

    While I'm sure what the answer would be when asking 13-year olds if they get too much homework, why not also ask a few college freshman if their high schools adequately prepared them for their outside-of-the-classroom workload.

    If our K-12 education system is preping those students to be ditch diggers, by all means cut the homework load.

    If however we really do need more doctors, nurses, computer professionals, etc., how about increasing the K-12 workload to prepare those students whom aren't inclinded to become ditch diggers succeed in college?

     

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    The Man, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 8:10am

    Union

    The key word in the article was "Teachers Union". Any time a union is involved, the real reason behind any push is the benifit of the "Union" and members only. I am sure it is just like the US where the teachers union could care less about the students and what helps them learn. It is about what is better for the teachers. Less work because they don't have to grade papers, and less hassle because they don't have to hear kids whine or badger them into turning in assisgnments. All unions suck and are bad for this country or any other country.

    Homework may not help kids learn, but it does teach them about real world things like responsibility, self discipline and deadlines.

     

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    Alimas, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 8:12am

    I almost never my homework

    Back when I was in third grade, my teacher liked to hand out math assignments, each night, of about a hundred or so math equations (on top of our book reports and other homework she gave us) for us to do and pass in the next morning.
    Being massively "left-brained" I had no trouble working my multiplication tables and found the homework to be mostly a waste of my time and unproductive. When I got older and looked back on it, I realized the teacher was doing so as not to build the students skills, but so as to make them memorize the equations she presented so that it would look like she taught something while still putting in the least amount of effort.

    I think homework should projects, not busywork. Things like being assigned to do a report on something, requiring the student to do their own research, assemble and plan their presentation, etc.. Thats teaching the kid a lot of stuff simultaneously. Spelling words? Long lists of math equations, not so much.

    Our classrooms are such poor learning environments, relying heavily on memorization rather than raw understanding and assuming all kids think and learn alike.
    And "No Child Left Behind" only made it worse.

    Thats my position.

     

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    Alimas, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 8:13am

    Re: I almost never my homework

    LoL
    "I almost never my homework"
    Should be a "did" in there.

     

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    Alimas, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 8:17am

    Re: Union

    Actually, historically, unions have a LOT to do with most of the kinds of work related privileges you apparently take for granted today - that is: overtime hours, weekends, holidays, etc., etc..

     

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    Gunnar, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 8:34am

    Re:

    How does homework prepare you for the real world? Or even college really.

    The homework I got in high school was mostly mindless busy work. The homework I got in college, if it was graded, wasn't.

    I do all my work at... work. When I get home, I do whatever I want.

     

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  44.  
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    Bil Corry, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 8:43am

    Homework doesn't work

    Scientific research into homework is clear, it doesn't work:

    http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/rethinkinghomework.htm

    Alfie Kohn's book is a good primer on how homework is detrimental, and how the supposed benefits (such as builds discipline) don't exist:

    http://www.alfiekohn.org/books/hm.htm

    If you're a fan of homework, then consider reading his book as your homework.

     

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  45.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 8:52am

    Wow, if there wasn't any homework teachers would actually have to teach during class. The way I see it if I need homework to learn something someone wasn't doing there job in the classroom.

     

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  46.  
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    Kevin, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 8:57am

    Re: "Homework" is a pretty broad term...

    What exactly are they covering under that? Taking home some math questions to work on? Reading a passage for tomorrow's class? Putting in some extra time at home on a coursework project? The usefulness of homework is extremely subjective, surely. To get the hang of certain things, you have to just practice them over and over. Certain math equations need a decent bit of repetition before you can do them easily. Vocabulary and spelling ability don't spontaneously increase, you need to put time and effort into reading and writing. There isn't enough time in the school day (roughly 9am-3:30pm in the UK nowadays I think, mine was 8:45am to 3:10pm) to do that, so kids are gonna have to be given some work to do at home.

    EXACTLY! The same goes for this side of the pond. Kids are in school from roughly 7:30am-3:30pm, less some time for lunch and going between classes. There's simply not enough time in the school day for kids to be taught the material AND practice the material. You can teach kids some concepts, but if you want them to be able to do the math, spelling, vocab, writing, chemistry equations, foreign language translations, etc, then they need to practice. The more they practice, the more skilled they will become.

    Of course, there are some classes where it doesn't directly translate. You can't practice doing History, you can only read up on it and memorize facts. The same goes with Government classes. Literature classes to an extent are in the same boat, but most of those classes require a lot of reading, usually far more than you can do in school hours.

    The two most valuable resources that society (not parents) can provide to a child are access to quality healthcare and a good education. Why would we deliberately choose to skimp on one?

     

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  47.  
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    chronos, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re:

    Well, contrary to the opinion of many of you, being a senior in high school, I can definitely say that homework is necessary. I don't claim to like it, deny that it drives me to insanity at times, or say that some of it is not just busywork, but much of the time it is the reinforcement of what I learn in class, and without it, I would often find myself with a total lack of comprehension of what we are learning (especially in classes such as physics and calculus). So I will heartily declare that homework is far from useless.

     

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  48.  
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    Daniel (profile), Mar 13th, 2008 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Did ANYONE Follow the Links?

    Thanks for the suggestion. I found this:
    http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2007/~/media/Files/rc/reports/2007/1211_education_loveless/1 211_education_loveless.pdf
    ( http://tinyurl.com/2ry9qm )

    It does both a cross sectional and longitudinal study of the correlation of instruction and homework to math results (they studied math because it provided the fewest variables among countries of various hisories and languages).

    The results found a strong positive correlation with instruction and a neutral - leaning very slightly to the negative - correlation for homework.

    Once again, homework has no effect on student success at best.

     

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  49.  
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    High School Science Teacher, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 9:09am

    Re: Homework doesn't work

    Alfie Kohn is a quack. The real work is happening by folks who are in the education sector, teaching it or are actively published in college-level books and journals.

    His book, which I've read, is nothing more than a meaningless text for parents to employ and proudly display during parent-teacher conferences and use as a method to undermine teacher's methodologies.

     

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  50.  
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    Sean, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 9:19am

    Re: Real Problem

    No the real problem is the standardized tests themselves. Teachers teach to the test and the students don't learn anything other than how to pass the test. Teachers need to be able to teach regular ciriculum rather than spend most of the school year teaching the test.

     

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  51.  
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    The Man, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 9:20am

    Re: Re: "Homework" is a pretty broad term...

    "The two most valuable resources that society (not parents) can provide to a child are access to quality healthcare and a good education. Why would we deliberately choose to skimp on one?" Said by Kevin.

    Hate to go off topic, but you have got to be kidding. These are "society's" issues, meaning government. If parents rely on government to educate and provide good health care, we will have a lot of stupid dead kids.

    Do not think socialization of anything is the answer.

    "Government is not the solution to problems. Government is the cause of problems" to paraphrase the great Ronald Regan.

     

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  52.  
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    ronga, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 10:45am

    Outsourcing

    And you wonder why tech are being shipped out to India to brighter Engineers/Prgrammers!!

     

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  53.  
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    PrepSchoolTeacher, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 11:04am

    Other reasons for ditching homework

    I didn't see anyone write about this but I could have missed it because I skipped over all the name-calling comments...one of the main reasons that I hear California colleagues talking about getting rid of homework is because kids aren't doing it anyway and there's no way for us teachers to enforce it. Traditional methods of detention, loss of privileges, etc. do not work when students can go home to an empty house and play video games all day and night long or simply ditch/not show up to detention altogether and get away with it.

    Bottom line is we can't control what they do at home, only what they do in the classroom; so, instead of giving them homework that they won't do anyway, make them do all the work in class where we can control the interruptions, the instruction, and the learning environment. I personally think these are better reasons than simply not wanting to produce stressed out and anxious kids.

     

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  54.  
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    Christian Klay, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 11:09am

    The education system in general is hopelessly flawed. We are trying to churn out specialized automatons that have already become obsolete in our info/tech heavy society. As a kid with ADD I can't tell you how many hours I spent sitting in front of a textbook trying desperately to memorize multiplication tables. Id try for hours simply staring at numbers not learning them. When Id go to class Id look stupid in front of everyone when I messed up on a simple table while the most lackluster dullards could spurt off 7x12=84 like it was coded in their DNA. Every time I asked my teacher or my parents why I had to memorize the damn things when my calculator could do it faster Id get the same answer. "Well one day you may not have a calculator, what will you do then?"

    Well Ive found the answer, Ill get another bloody calculator. Now im working on my masters degree 2 years ahead of schedule and I can't help wondering if all that time spent trying to memorize that crap would have been more productive spent learning how to better use a calculator.

     

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  55.  
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    Falindraun, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 11:22am

    Homework is mostly mindless busywork

    From what I remember about homework when I was in grade school (K-12) is that my parents did most of it because I didn't care about it my test scores were always A's and B's but my overall grades where in the D's and below, because I never did the homework. All people learn differently, that includes children. Some learn by doing others by watching and listening. Most of my teachers in grade school that gave lots of homework didn't have a degree for the class in which they were teaching. (example: a teacher that specialized in math that is now teaching history or english.) The reason for the increase in homework from those teachers is mainly due to not knowing the coursework well enough. I have always said that the right teacher shouldn't have to give any homework (or at least not as much) due to realizing the different learning styles of their students and actually knowing the class that they are teaching.

     

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  56.  
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    Life long Learner, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 11:25am

    LIfe-long learning vs Homework

    I didn't read every comment on this page, so I may have missed it. But the ones I did read seemed to miss one major point for homework throughout school. School is not only to teach you the basics... it is also to teach you how to learn on your own for the rest of your life. This is especially true for college. Homework is part of that process. It helps you get ready to do 'homework' on your own later.

     

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  57.  
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    Davkaus, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 11:33am

    "School is not only to teach you the basics... it is also to teach you how to learn on your own for the rest of your life. This is especially true for college. Homework is part of that process. It helps you get ready to do 'homework' on your own later."

    I'd say the kids who want to learn and care about their education will continue to study and revise outside of school, and the ones who don't won't bother to do any homework, as they don't anyway.

     

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  58.  
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    backpack-back, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 12:47pm

    homework is not the problem

    You ever look at some of these kids backpacks. They are sometimes lugging 20+ pounds of books back and forth. They don't have the energy to do homework after hauling that load. Why are schools not stocked with local copies for the kids. Why are children not interested in the stuff being taught. What can teaching professionals do to IMPROVE the system. All of these are bigger issues than the fact that kids have to do homework to better themselves.
    Homework is essential to the learning process. You can sit in a room and hear ( not listen ) to a teacher spout data at you but if you don't go home and actually attempt to assimilate that data and actually try to remember what the teacher said then by the next morning you've already forgotten most of what happened the day before.

    Homework needs to stay. What needs to go are some of the old ways of approaching education. Kids need more work not less. Look at the rest of the world ( I am from the US ) to see how off our system is. The japanese continually kick the crap out of our kids across the board.

    Why?

    Because their parents know the value of a good education. The society as a whole knows that value. Look at us. What do we value? "Phat-whips wit rims" bling, Prada and Cristal( if that's how you even spell it ). When you see parents complaining about our shit system all the while driving their Hummer around the projects "rockin" sean john and nike gear you have to wonder where the disconnect is.

    We trample the educated and productive. We lift up the most banal and inane concepts as things to strive for. What ever happened to the "hard days work"and "You reap what you sow" America of old. Now we expected to let our kids sit back grow fat, lazy and stupid. Oh wait thats already happened.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 2:04pm

    Re:

    That's the thing, learning wise, homework is /voluntary/ in the senior years and for the students that need it, it is crucial.

    Assignments and jazz... well there isn't enough time in the school day for those to be completed.

     

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  60.  
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    Bil Corry, Mar 13th, 2008 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Re: Homework doesn't work

    "His book, which I've read, is nothing more than a meaningless text for parents to employ and proudly display during parent-teacher conferences and use as a method to undermine teacher's methodologies."


    Which methodologies do you, as a science teacher, use for assigning homework? From what I understand, homework isn't a topic covered for a degree in Education nor a teaching certificate. This means each teacher must resort to their own, home-brewed method of homework. And yes, as a parent, I'm going to question your home-brewed methodology, especially considering the research is clear on the detrimental effects of homework.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    Iron Chef, Mar 14th, 2008 @ 10:47pm

    Sometimes I troll too

    Signed,
    LoJack

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Real Problem

    >The single largest thing wrong with
    >our school system in the U.S. is that
    >every state tests their kids to a different level

    The testing ITSELF is what is wrong. Teachers are forced to "teach to the test," which undermines real learning.

     

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  63.  
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    High School Science Teacher, Ed.D, Mar 17th, 2008 @ 10:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Homework doesn't work

    Thanks for the note, Bil.

    As a recipient of a Jacob Javitz Grant for GT education with several references in respected journals, and a book on GT Program Evaluation currently being reviewed by the Dept. Of Education, I believe that the book which your reference just that.. A fictional Book.

    When Alfie Kohn is referenced in a peer-reviewed journal, I may consider his work as reputable.

    Thank you for the heads up.

    Please let me know when these events occur.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 5:29pm

    homework sucks

     

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  65.  
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    h.r puffinstuff, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 5:31pm

    homework can suck my big scaley balls

     

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  66.  
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    Barney (Big purple dino), Mar 18th, 2008 @ 5:34pm

    Re:

    ya homework can suck my big purple balls

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2008 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re:

    BARNEY you suck

     

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  68.  
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    Joe, Apr 17th, 2008 @ 4:00am

    I watched a PBS special on homework reform. They showed how the countries with the the highest scoring kids give the least amount of homwork. The reason... the teachers who don't give home work teach the kids to learn. In the United States, teachers teach the kids to pass tests.

     

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  69.  
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    john, May 6th, 2008 @ 9:09am

    i think you are so right because it gives students so much stres on there hands

     

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  70.  
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    Sam, Jan 27th, 2009 @ 10:57am

    Homework SUCKS SUCKS SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     

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  71.  
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    L, Apr 29th, 2009 @ 10:32am

    ...

    home work is so gay and a waste of fucking time. i could have gotten laid last nite but nooo i had to finish my fucking home work or i would be suspended...again

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    `, Jul 7th, 2010 @ 11:59am

    nb m,jkhm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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