I suppose one of things about being a teacher is that everyone has an opinion on education to share with you.
One of my brother’s family is now in Year 8 at secondary school, his partner asked me about my opinion on homework- sadly it’s one of those areas I still can’t get right in my mind. There were two interesting and opposing viewpoints.
|Homework shouldn’t be set||?||Homework should be set regularly|
Setting homework, provides additional burden to students, time when they could be widening their interests or becoming involved in different groups.
Some students find homework difficult to complete for a number of reasons, lack of home space, or ability, homework tasks may cause friction at home, particularly if a child needs an adult to help, or failure to hand in homework has become an issue.
Lack of homework from a class can cause friction between teacher and student, as a sanction is given to the student, the student may become less motivated, in extreme cases purposely missing the lesson.
Some homework tasks set can be completely inappropriate, unchallenging and dull, thus they devalue the knowledge or the lesson where it is being provided.
On the opposite side-
Homework offers an opportunity for students to work independently, as such it can extend knowledge and promote interest.
Appropriate open-ended tasks can encourage students to think and produce creatively.
It helps students develop time management skills.
We don’t have a specific homework policy, but over my time teaching I have evolved the following personal philosophy-
I don’t set homework for the sake of it, why create the additional burden and stress, for a pointless piece of work?
I tend to set open ended and more creative tasks over a longer time period. The aim being that choice will help engage students.
I take in and mark homework, but do not use sanctions when individuals do not complete it.
The third point is contentious, one which I’ve had a quite heated debate over in the last term- A key Stage 4 student being given a detention over non-submission of coursework, I find this sends a very confusing message, you will be made to complete work that benefits you, as a result you may do just as well, or better, than the individual who is intrinsically motivated and has completed the work on time. What do both students learn from this? Happily the issue of coursework submission has died with the creation of controlled assessment.
This is not to say that as a professional I don’t have a responsibility to inform the student’s parents and offer support, sometimes failure to complete can be an issue of motivation: but it can also be symptomatic of a lack of understanding, or an inherent issue with the task.
But I see no reason to force an individual to complete work, nor do I wish to damage a relationship with a student so much, that they opt with their feet, and ultimately are turned off from learning and school.
I’m of the mindset that individuals who show effort, should be praised and rewarded, part of that ‘reward’ is intrinsic, but extrinsically it is also celebrated with improved skill, knowledge and progress.
I suppose my four point is more challenging, but I have given up on
But that’s for another time…