Monday, August 25, 2008

To give or not to give.....

I know it's the timeless question. How much homework should be given out? As it stands, I do believe that homework should not be anything new, or difficult. It should be something that the student can do independently without taking up too much time. Yet I fear that there are teachers out there who feel uncomfortable in not giving loads of work to be done home. Old habits are hard to kill, and I do believe that with good first teaching, homework shouldn't be so taxing.
As a former second grade teacher, I used to make sure that one thing that they would always have to do is read and have their parents sign their reading log. As the year went on, I had them summarize and infer on what they were reading. Spelling and math worksheets were sent home every once in awhile. I made to sure to focus on getting what I wanted the students to learn in class which I saw made a huge improvement on their reading scores later on.

For anyone else out there who has been having similar problems with this dilema, here's a story from the houston chronicle telling how one school district is handling it. How much homework do you give your students? Do you feel that you are giving too much?


martin said...

I believe that there are two educational purposes of homework. The first, is to reinforce and remind the student what he or she has previously learnt. That is, I agree with you, that homework should not be new material. This is in line with the solid research that indicates that people, young and old, do not have significant issues in remembering things, the issue is that they forget things quite easily and quickly. It is a lot easier to coninute to remember something than it is to remember something in the first place. The simple, yet very powerful remedy to this is to recap the work a little time after it was initially learnt. What many people do not realise is that, if done systematically, the required frequency to revise previousy learnt concepts grows larger very quickly. So something like, revising 1 minute later, 10 minutes later, 1 hour later, 10 hours later, 1 day later, 10 days later is often sufficient to move something into the medium-term memory.

Secondly, I believe that the purpose of homework is to blur the lines between school and home. That is, to create the culture, habits and values that learning is an attitude to life, and not something that is done in isolation to the rest of the world and your life, from 9am to 3pm.

UltimateTeacher said...

Interesting idea of having homework having a correspondence to a strong work ethic. I do would love to have all my students have a that balance in their life, but I'm not sure if homework in itself is going to do that.

From my experience, I found homework to be done by either the parents or older siblings, even if the child is capable of doing it independently. Many of my parents enjoyed helping their child with their work almost to the point where I could see that their handwritting was the majority of what was on the page.

So the dilema would then be how to instill this work ethic to carry on after the bell rings? I belive having a strong set of parents who are supporting you, is the best way to go.