The debate about the effectiveness of homework as a means to achieving educational success in children has raged on for several decades. Proponents argue that homework is one of the best ways for children to learn independently. Opponents argue that burdening children with homework after a long and stressful day at school only has a negative effect on their overall academic performance. Still, others argue that homework has no proven effect either negative or otherwise for learners.
Some authorities are beginning to weigh in on the issue too. Officials of Marion County, Florida, have officially banned homework and instead replaced it with daily reading. The State Superintendent who formalized the move drew praise from some parents who said that too much homework burdened upon their young children had taken away valuable play and relaxation time from them.
Other schools in the New York and Massachusetts school districts have also begun implementing ‘no homework’ pilot policies, instead of trying to adopt more class time during the regular school day. They say the net effect of freeing up after school hours on children will be relaxing and probably have a better mental and health effect on them than the current tedious homework policies do.
A 2006 research analysis by Duke University Psychology Department, Professor Harry Cooper suggested that homework does indeed have an overall positive effect on student performance and achievement. The suggested correlation was even stronger for students in the upper K-12 grades, i.e. 7th to 12th grade, and lower for those in lower grades.
While it was evident from the study that too much homework can negatively affect student attitudes about learning, restrict leisure and create fatigue, both physical and mental, there was also much to be learned about the positive aspects of homework. Professor Cooper’s study suggested that homework betters study habits and patterns of children, their attitudes towards school, inquisitiveness, independence and problem-solving skills. While this study was not conclusive, it suggested further testing be done to determine the potential effects of homework.
Overall, homework should be designed as an educational aid, not a torture tool. Here are 5 ways in which homework, done right, can help better students’ achievements.
Effective Planning and Coordination
Many teachers and other educators give out what they think as ‘enough’ homework for students on their own. The problem arises when four or five other teachers do the same thing, and thus the student ends up taking home a burdensome workload which really doesn’t help their learning efforts at the end of the day. Such students end up either copying from their colleagues or just do homework for the sake of doing it, knowing well that it won’t affect their GPA’s in any way. Homework should be coordinated with all departments and teachers within a specific class, through a central authority such as a class teacher. That way, it becomes easier to make sure that the workload isn’t burdensome, but in fact becomes enjoyable to learners. Different teachers, especially for higher grades should make sure to coordinate their efforts properly to avoid redundancy and placing too much work in the hands of students who also need to have a rest.
Students get bored when they have to carry the same work they have been doing in school for several hours back home. They don’t enjoy the pleasure of having to work independently or learning something new. Homework should be explorative and shouldn’t take the strict learning procedures that are prevalent in most classrooms. Students can also get a few ideas from online custom writing service such as Do My Homework For Me which specializes in innovative writing. The idea is to make the situation relaxing for students so that they don’t feel like they are extending school hours into the PM.
Encourage Collaboration with Other Students
Homework doesn’t have to be measured by individual metrics, and this is one failure of the current system. Encouraging students to work together in groups with fun activities that count as homework makes them actually look forward to doing it. Students always find some fun in group work, and if teachers can make good use of the fact that most of these students hang out after school, it would be to their advantage.
Involve Their Parents
Parents have to be involved in the process. This helps set the tone and mood for relaxed working. Teachers should remember that the overall effect of homework is to build students not only academically, but also mentally and emotionally.
Make it Short!
After school is meant to be the time for some play and relaxation. Limiting homework time to just a few minutes every day will actually make students look forward to doing it, instead of having to spend hours on end trying to finish assignments which don’t benefit them much.