Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Journal 6: Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework

'“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.”' photo (c) 2010, Kate Ter Haar - license:

 This journal article meets NETS 1.

In this article, Spencer advocates getting rid of homework completely and focusing on using time at school to do everything school-related. Homework should be optional since it usually does not help engage students in the material or teach them the material. Students and parents can begin to resent the teacher who assigns too much homework. Since children have many extracurricular activities and responsibilities in today's modern society, homework should be eradicated.

What is your personal opinion on homework?
I don't agree with sending students home with busy work just to give them homework. However, independent work is a critical skill that students must learn in all subjects since they will be expected to know how to work productively alone in their future careers. In addition, math and science is a very tough subject. Students need lots of practice on math problems to solidify what they've learned in class. Biology is a subject that requires a lot of reading, and using class-time for such an activity would be wasteful. After students learn new material, they will need to spend some time reflecting, studying, and taking notes to internalize the new information. I like to assign reflective essays pertaining to biology topics to ensure they are learning the material in a way that's meaningful for them. Although students don't necessarily need to do independent work at home, they still need to do this work to really master the material they learn at school. Even though 6 hours a day seems like a long time, each student will only spend about an hour in my class each day. That is just not enough time to master all the standards they are expected to know. 

How can homework be designed to be more engaging and exciting for students?
At the school where I currently teach, Fusion Academy, we have eliminated "homework" completely. We specialize in educating students who have had poor experiences in the public school system and are at risk for dropping out. They have not been successful in doing homework in the past. Much of this, I've observed, is a lack of students knowing how to do homework. Instead, we assign each student 1 hour of "Homework Cafe" for each class they take. After each class, they retreat to the Homework Cafe where they complete their independent work. Then, they sign out with each teacher so he can check over the assignment and make sure it was completed correctly. When the student goes home at the end of the day, she has no homework hanging over her head, leaving more time for extracurricular activities and family time. Students thrive with a more guided approach to doing homework.   

In addition, I strive to make my homework assignments for my students meaningful. They get to decide on topics they want to write about. Having control over their homework gives them a sense of ownership, and students tend to be more committed to producing good work. In addition, selecting topics of interest to them helps engage them in the material since they are researching topics of interest to them personally. Making the homework assignments interesting and applicable to each student creates enthusiasm, making the assignment much easier for the student to complete. 

Spencer, J. T. (2011, September 19). Ten reasons to get rid of homework (and five alternatives). Retrieved from

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