Is Homework Helpful Or Harmful Articles

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Mathematics homework (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The homework debate has been raging for many decades, with no end in sight.  On one hand there are the proponents of homework who swear by its benefits and efficacy, and on the other hand we have the detractors who would like schools to end the practice of giving homework to students.  Among the proponents there is also the burning question of just how much homework should be given to students. Parents, educators, students and indeed the general public have all been deeply divided over the homework issue for a long time.  It seems as though the numbers of detractors are slowly growing.  Some schools in the United States and elsewhere have a no homework policy.  The French president Francois Hollande proposed a no homework policy last year in his plans for educational reform.  His rationale being that students do not have a level playing field when it comes to the matter of homework, because some have parents who can help them  while others do not.

The experts also disagree over the advantages and disadvantages of homework.  Cooper, Robinson, and Patall (2006), for instance, concluded that there is a positive correlation between the amount of homework students do and their achievement levels.  Other researchers, such as Alfie Kohn and Timothy Naughton, state that there is little or no benefit to giving homework and that it does not really lead to improved academic performance.  Alfie Kohn, (2006), wrote “The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing.” Even the title is eloquent.

Let us consider the pros and cons of homework and then make an informed decision and recommendation about its value.

PROS

  • Homework helps to  consolidate and clarify what was learned during the school day.
  • It gives practice with content, concepts and skills.
  • Homework improves performance in standardized tests.
  • It is an extension of classwork that allows students to achieve mastery of the content or skills to be learned.
  • Students do not have enough time during the day to fully understand all the information they are given.
  • Homework facilitates rote learning.
  • It  lets parents see what their children are doing at school.
  • Homework teaches self-discipline, time management and research skills.
  • It reduces time for TV and video games and promotes good study habits.
  • It increases interest in schoolwork when it is corrected quickly.

CONS

  • Homework must be corrected quickly or students get frustrated and lose interest.
  • It can be too burdensome and stressful at times.
  • Homework disturbs family life and prevents students from doing household chores.
  • Parents or relatives may do the homework for the student.
  • Students need time to relax, play and pursue sports and hobbies.
  • Homework can make students too tired after a long day at school.
  • It keeps them up too late at night.
  • Homework is often meaningless busywork which does not promote real learning.
  • Students from middle- and upper-class homes have better resources to help them with homework.

After examining the pros and cons where do you stand on the homework issue?  What would you add to the debate?

On the strength of 39 years of experience as an educator I firmly believe in the efficacy of homework.  I know that more homework equates to better academic performance.  I have seen it countless times.  I wish to sound a note of caution though.  Care must be taken to ensure that homework is relevant and linked to vital learning objectives at all times.  It must be designed to deepen students’ understanding, and facilitate mastery of the material to be learned.

Finally, teachers should not overburden students with homework.  There should always be reasonable homework timetables or schedules and homework should be age appropriate.  In elementary schools homework should be light.  It can be increased in secondary school on a sliding scale as the student progresses through the school.  It can range from one hour or a little less per night in the lower school, to three hours or a little more per night in the upper school.

When no written homework is given, students should be encouraged to review the important elements of the day’s work or do additional reading as self-given homework.  They need to understand that they are largely responsible for their own academic progress.  When a student is absent from school he should contact a classmate to get the homework and do it .

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  • No it is terrible

    There is no, nil, zero, zilch evidence that homework is beneficial! Not one tiny teeny little grain! And there is soooo much overwhelming evidence that homework is bad! Can't you realise that, people who keep saying no?
    It causes unnecessary stress levels, steals sleep, causes arguments, wastes time, hinders learning (yes, lack of sleep and being really miserable WILL hinder learning), causes obesity..... I could go on forever!

  • Ruins the chance of children liking school.

    Me, being a 7th grader, saw an article while I was searching for evidence for an essay that I am writing for a school essay which I am writing about why homework is harmful. While I was looking for other people's opinions, I stumbled across a shocking discovery; only 36% of students said that they are happy with their lives, and I can see why it is. Especially during middle school, when most people hit puberty, we need more sleep to help us grow. In fact, I once had to stay up 'til midnight to get all of my homework done! This is also ruining our chance to have fun or continue hobbies. For example, I am currently into coding, but I barely have ant time to code because the teachers are giving tons of homework to us over the weekends. It really makes me laugh about how much the teachers want you to "go outside and enjoy the fresh air" even though they are preventing us from doing this! This all adds up to children getting failing grades, even if they really try. I remember once I was so stressed out that I literally had a mental breakdown. I do not want their to be homework and would do anything for there to be none because failing grades=students hating school.

  • Lack of sleep

    Kids are staying up to late trying to complete homework that the next day they can hardly concentrate in class, for example, i get home from school at 4:30 and i have sports practice from 5:00-8:00 and i stay up until 10-11 trying to do my homework and the next day i can hardly pay attention.

  • Lack of sleep

    Kids are staying up to late trying to complete homework that the next day they can hardly concentrate in class, for example, i get home from school at 4:30 and i have sports practice from 5:00-8:00 and i stay up until 10-11 trying to do my homework and the next day i can hardly pay attention.

  • Homework is redundant and a waste of time. You face consequences for not completing it.

    Is homework helpful? Well some people may consider it a helping hand in education whilst other may consider it a waste of time. I believe it’s futile and that homework is set as part of curriculum and not in the best interest of the student. Teachers care more about whether homework is completed rather that the student even learning.

    Homework is made compulsory to students and if it isn’t completed, there will be consequences. This peruses a fear factor for students to complete it even if they do not enjoy it. Are they benefiting from homework or are they merely doing it to avoid the consequences? They are just repeating what they have been taught during school hours. Yes, practicing what you have been taught is essential in learning but if you do it involuntarily, chances of you actually absorbing the information is little. Students just want to get homework over and done with. Most of the time they don’t care if the answers are correct, they just do it to avoid the consequences. This classes the student as being underperforming. In some situation, some student may find homework to be redundant and not even complete it. They then will have to face the consequences and when they do, time is being waste in doing completely nothing. The student could have done something productive in the duration he/she was kept in detention. The student is labelled a badly behaved student just because they didn’t do their homework. Should this be the case?

    Most of the time, when homework is set, it is set in large quantity with a short deadline. This overwhelms the student. Homework goes from an “essential part of learning” to a burden. The time for the student to relax, socialise is shortened and even some cases removed. The student would have to sit for a long period of time completing the homework. This would lead to frustration and eventually the loss of interest towards the subject. The motivation of learning is reduced if a student is constantly burdened with homework. This is just for one subject, imagine what it may be like for 8 subjects. The love of learning and being educated is lost because of homework. Now let’s take another scenario. The student has homework to complete but decides to socialise with his/her friends. They then arrive home to realise that they have homework due in tomorrow so they stay up really late completing it. They have a short amount of sleep which affects their performance the next day. People may argue that deadline are usually a week long so why didn’t the student complete it beforehand. Well, many students have a bad habit of procrastinating so they leave homework till the last day. If there wasn’t any homework, they will not have anything to procrastinate about. Also, in some lessons, the deadline is the next day as the teacher believes the homework is really short.

  • Homework is downright painful.

    Sometimes I don't understand it (particularly math), my mom does not understand it, and at times my dad doesn't understand it either. Since adults make this stuff we have to deal with, "that's saying a lot." Books need to come home with the homework that show examples and not just the worksheets. I might be able to understand the assignments better if they would show us the way and examples on how to do it.

  • Stress on you and your children!

    Your kids already go to school for about 8 hours, and when they get home all of their energy is gone away from working all day. Don't they already learn at school? So what's the point of doing it at home? I know some parents let kids cheat from the Internet. Overall nobody is learning anything, it's just more stress for everyone.

  • Teachers fail at teaching

    If teacher teach us enough, we shouldn't need homework you can claim that it's practice, but don't we practice ENOUGH during 8 hours of school?! If teachers really taught us, we wouldn't need homework, or papers. And besides, who remembers homework the day after. It's such a chore, we don't even take time to remember what's actually being taught. Heck, just search it on the internet.

  • Super Unhealthy Conditions

    Because it Causes too much stress and you don't get enough sleep because you are trying to finish all the homework you get. Grownups are constantly reminding kids about how they are supposed to stay healthy but what they don't realize it that its almost nearly impossible to exercise when our schedule is full trying to get our homework done, and its hard to eat breakfast when you go to bed late and wake it to get ready in 10 minutes, and its SOOOOO FFFRREEAAAKKEENNN HHARRRDD TO GET ENOUGH SLEEP WHEN YOU HAVE MOUNTAIN LOADS OF HOMEWORK HANGING OVER YOUR SHOULDER PULLING YOU DOWN TO THE DEPTHS OF FAILURE AND DESPAIR!!! HOW CAN THE GOVERNMENT POSSIBLY EXPECT US TO COMPLETE HIGH SCHOOL IN THESE HORRIBLE HEALTH CONDITIONS?!?!? THE EXPECTATIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE ABSOLUTELY STUPID! Kids these days are constantly developing scars from the depression they have to face when they fail in school. We can save lives if we just try and i mean TRY to change the current school conditions. People are facing suicide every day! Why not try to save them?

  • To much stress

    Many kids commit suicide because of stress. I know this being a successful NASA scientist. So don't let them do homework because kids who play assassins creed and watch TV scored highest out of 100 kids. Only 5 that did homework got 20% at least the kids who didn't average got average got 80%. So do you want your kids to be smart.

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