A forum for discussing what's working -- and what isn't -- in standards and assessments.

Should we assign homework?

David Wees Learning Specialist: Technology for Stratford Hall

Hi all,

I'd like to start a discussion here on the benefits or drawbacks to assigning regular homework to students.

I've had a lot of discussion with educators in the past year or so about homework, and met with mixed reviews of homework. Most educators I talk to support it, but much of the reading I've done seems either ambivalent about the practice or even quite negative.

I could start off with an opinion piece, but I'd rather that each person who has a position posts it here, and then I'll post my opinion later.

David

Comments (129)

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high school chemistry and technology teacher

No, I have been following the

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No, I have been following the discussion of the Flipped Classroom for a while and decided to try it out. Those students who put in the effort and watch the material I prepared seem ( not this is my perception )to do better in class with the class work I give them. I am giving "homework" type problems in class and walking around working with the students as they attempt these problems. I get to chat a lot more with the students and can better assess where they are in their learning.

It seems to be working, but it is definitely not my idea.

Flipped Classroom?

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I definitely appreciate this idea and would argue that all of the sports/music comparisons SHOULD support this model. Musicians when with their teacher practice with supervision. Teams practice with supervision and correction. we send kids home alone to try. However, my concern is that I try to structure my math classroom as a conversation. I rely SO much of questioning and prompting while running my class and I know that would be lost if kids were just watching a video. Any ideas? Any suggestions?

Graduate Student

Suggestions...for?

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I could see the flipped classroom working, but I don't know if there is anything profound there. The key is that children are (self) motivated enough to do some kind of work out of the classroom. I suppose "office hours" aren't feasible as they are in the university setting, but perhaps homeworks could be due every other class, (say, MWF) so that T/Th are days where you can respond to questions.

Also, with sports and music - there are the times where there is supervision, and then there are times where the athlete/musician must practice on his/her own. It might also help to guide them on how to assess their own performance where possible.

high school chemistry and technology teacher

The conversation comes in

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The conversation comes in class while the students practice. This week I have spent more time working with students who have questions related to the material, that they have already thought about. The hope is that class will provide the opportunity for the conversation about the material after the students have heard some if it.

What is the solution then?

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I wonder what can I do instead and avoid having parents all over me? I have students that never do their homework. What do you with these students? I have told them that they will get a grade for their homework but this is not wroking. I have taken recess away and work with them in small groups and some of them do not seem to be concerned at all. I just wonder...

As the teacher whose club is

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As the teacher whose club is Homework help, I find that the overwhelming response is that students like the club. They get their homework done (generally quicker than at home) and have the rest of the day to do what they want. Also, once they get their homework done in the club they can do puzzles, go on the computer or play games with other done students.

I tend to be on the side of

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I tend to be on the side of little or no homework; except I do try to get my students to read every night. Depending on the age group. I worked with first grade and I let them choose a book that they could read to someone, and another book that a parent or guardian could read to them. I'm convinced that this nightly reading did help may students with their fluency;as many of them did increase. Of course, one could argue that the reading skills would increase anyway. With the 3/4 group I now have, I ask them to read each night for fifteen to twenty minutes and respond to a nightly journal question,which can be answered in a sentence or two. Some Parents feel that this is too much and others feel that it is not enough. I agree with the gentleman who expressed his thought that parents should be doing learning activities at home with their children. This will turn a learning experience into family time. As a parent, I have a daughter in sixth grade who gets quite a bit of homework and I can see her burning out by the end of her assignments. I am sure that she is not getting anything out of all that "practice" and I will usually tell her to stop. However, she believes that she must do all of her assignments in order to be a "good" student. I guess I think some homework is not bad if it has a real purpose other than practice, and it can be done in a reasonable amount of time. In fact I always tell both students and parents that their children should spend about a half hour. I also never give weekend or holiday homework. Kids need time to process their day, and to much homework prevents that.

Homeschooling

Quote:As an AP Calculus

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[quote]As an AP Calculus teacher, I find that homework is a necessary part of my curriculum. My students have problems to solve that require a minimum of 3 hours per week outside of class....aka homework. There are also extra credit problems that can also be done outside of class.

I have read with interest all negative comments on homework, and agreed on all of them as a homeschool teacher. AP Calculus'teacher comment made me remember my Calculus classes. I agree that, in the case of Mathematics, homework is a must. What made me excel in these classes was the fact that I did all the practice problems of the book, and I gather this could not be possible to acheive during class time. So, maybe we can partially conclude, that homework may be useful for the subject of Mathematics.

high school chemistry and technology teacher

I agree with you that

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I agree with you that practice is necessary, especially in an AP class and for most AP calculus will need that practice. In my chemistry class the flipped idea seems to be working. I provide video lectures and we do practice in class. Most problems students have need help as they go and working at home does not do that. Good luck with your class and keep up the homework.

You obviously didn't get MY point

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Quote:

Leonard Klein-You actually make my point...

There are not enough hours in the day to do the homework for every class who thinks THEIR class needs two hours of homework every day plus project assignments, eat, sleep, maintain personal hygiene and possibly talk to your family, much less any friends. They could not, in any way, shape or form, also participate in any extra curricular functions, including football (or music or art, or acting).

Do the math.

Again, my friends and I were taught IN class with minimal homework. We have all gone on to earn six figure incomes, and that was because we had the time AFTER school to explore the areas we were interested in, instead of being swamped with the work teachers were not able to cover in class. Did we just have teachers who were better able to teach within the classroom?

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