Homework is a horrible idea.

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by porque_pig, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 3, 2010

    Okay, not necessarily. But I want everyone's opinion on homework!

    I've been doing a bit of research on homework. Some researchers like Cooper suggest 10-20 minutes per night per grade level (for example, first graders receive 10-20 minutes, seniors in high school receive at least two hours of homework--see http://www.cehd.umn.edu/carei/reports/Rpractice/Summer94/homework.html). Other researchers and some educational philosophers (like Alfie Kohn) claim that homework is horribly overused, misused and often ineffective (see http://www.alfiekohn.org/teaching/edweek/homework.htm).

    I'm still trying to sort out my own philosophy on homework. I work with a departmental syllabus at the moment, so I have no say in homework assignments (which at this point is helpful). But when I move to a secondary school situation, I'll have to come up with a philosophy.

    1. Do you assign homework every night?
    2. Do students receive too much/too little homework in general?
    3. What makes a homework assignment effective?
    4. Does the amount of homework a teacher assigns reflect the effectiveness of that teacher?

    I'd love your input!
     
  2.  
  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Nov 3, 2010

    I teach math.

    I give homework evey night. My kids know I have a 20 minute rule. After 20 minutes of real, attentive homework, you're done. If you're the only one who didn't finish, you need extra help. If the whole class had trouble, then I need to re-teach or explain the material before moving on, or I simply assigned too much.

    I also allow 3 makeups per marking period , for all those times when life gets in the way of homework.

    Math homework is your chance to practice the skills you learned in class that day. Today it was the distance formula, used in coordinate geometry proofs. So tonight they'll do 4 coordinate geometry proofs using that distance formula. Like any other skill, math must be practiced.

    I don't grade my homework; I check it for completeness. Again, it's your chance to determine whether or not you understand the material. The grades come later, on the test or quiz.

    I hate homework for the sake of giving homework; my own kids get that sometimes. It's a waste of time, and even my young kids know that.

    And there's no correlation between homework assigned and effectiveness. I do think that some subjects, like math, pretty much demand homework. Others do not. But I'm not effective because I give homework; I'm effective because of the homework I choose to give.
     
  4. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Nov 3, 2010

    There is no magic rule that will work for every grade and every subject. Any attempt at generalizing will only result in frustration. With that in mind, here are my opinions:

    Early Elementary School (Pre-K-2nd): I think homework should not be given. At all. None. Zero. Zilch. It is not developmentally appropriate, and has been shown to not only be ineffective, but detrimental to the long term growth of students.

    Late Elementary School (3rd-5th): Homeworks should be limited to studying spelling words, reviewing for tests, and practicing concepts in math. This shouldn't amount to more than about 15-20 minutes per day.

    Middle School: Math needs to be practiced. Like Alice, I have a 20 minute rule. After 20 minutes, write me a note to tell me what tripped you up and/or what you didn't understand. Turn in your attempts at the work and your mini-self analysis, and that counts for full credit. In other subjects, homework shouldn't be much more than reviewing for tests and completing projects/papers and short, single night reading assignments or long term reading assignments such as novels. Since science is still general, there's no need for practice problems every night. Middle schoolers shouldn't have more than about 45 minutes total.

    High School: So much of what's appropriate depends on the subject at hand. In math, of course, there still needs to be practice, but now the sciences are getting less general and more computational, and practice problems are a must. Reading assignments in Social Studies and English classes should be getting longer an more intense. Most high schoolers are also taking a foreign language, and of course, that language must be practiced daily. There are also different levels of the same course. I would expect that a student in AP Chemistry or History would have a much larger workload than a student taking regular Chemistry or History. Each teacher must make a determination about how much practice or pre-reading is necessary to fully master the material that must be covered in the given course. That's the standard that should be used to determine how much to give.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    572

    Nov 3, 2010

    When I teach biology the homework is to finish up projects that either are part of the honors curriculum or things that should have been finished during class but the students chose to chat instead of buckle down. Or it is reading the chapter ahead of time or doing vocab for pre-learning. I expect that I give about 20 minutes of homework per WEEK on average. Maybe a bit more with the honors projects but students always get enough time in class to do most of it at school.

    When I teach chemistry students have homework every night. It could be pre-learning, practice or lab write-ups.
     
  6. KateL

    KateL Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    810
    Likes Received:
    2

    Nov 3, 2010

    For middle school science, I assign homework about once a week, usually studying for a test or answering a few comprehension questions from the book. There really isn't enough to "practice" in science at this level to justify homework every night. To prepare for a big test, though, the students do need to do some work outside of class to reinforce the ideas. So many of them are used to tests in elementary school that they didn't have to study for, but now the material is getting much harder with many more new vocabulary words. I definitely think that college-track students should have homework, otherwise they will never be able to handle all of the work outside of class in college.
     
  7. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Nov 3, 2010

    As a high school English teacher, I never specifically assign homework worksheets or anything like that. If they don't finish reading or writing what we were working on in class, then they are expected to take care of that on their own time. I do assign outside, independent reading at the beginning of the term, and the expectation is that they'll read that on their own time.
     
  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    6,713
    Likes Received:
    1,680

    Nov 3, 2010

    I teach SPED, so my thoughts may be different. Mon-Thurs nights I assign spelling practice, math fact practice, and a short journal entry. If there is unfinished classwork, that goes home. My students are only required to do 2 pages of seat work independently each day, so that unfinished classwork should rarely happen. I don't grade homework but the students receive a demerit if they don't complete it. My homework is given to help my students develop independent work habits and organizational skills, among other things. I also assign homework because my parents want it. However, I want my children to have time to play so they should not take more than 15 or 20 minutes to complete it.
     
  9. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    2

    Nov 3, 2010

    I give homework when it has meaning and purpose. I don't give work just to be giving work.

    In my Algebra 1 classes, we've got the material so spread out that I can do it with almost no homework.

    In my Algebra II classes, the pace is so insane that it's quite a bit of homework and we still can't get the job done in the time provided.
     
  10. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    Messages:
    449
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 4, 2010

    I assign a packet (2-3 pages) on Monday that is due back on Friday. I figure this lets them work on it at their own pace throughout the week. It's usually something to do with grammar review or vocabulary practice. Occasionally some sort of writing assignment.

    1. Do you assign homework every night?
    No. I think unless it's for math practice or something like that, homework every night for every class would be overkill.

    2. Do students receive too much/too little homework in general?I think it depends on the school. I'd say if kids are spending an hour or two on homework each night, it's ok. More than that, too much.

    3. What makes a homework assignment effective?
    If they can do it reasonably independently. If it is review or practice from earlier classes.

    4. Does the amount of homework a teacher assigns reflect the effectiveness of that teacher?
    No.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,596
    Likes Received:
    2,702

    Nov 4, 2010

    I do assign homework every night. Students have standing orders to review their vocabulary flashcards nightly for a few minutes. I tell them that this activity shouldn't take more than about five minutes. I also expect students to finish as homework any work not finished in class. Like Alice, I have a 20 minute rule. In fact, I think I stole that idea from her. :)

    Students receive far too much homework in general. Very often I see my students working on massive amounts of homework that appears to be little more than coloring or something. While I understand the value of using color to learn, I don't see how that sort of homework is helpful, especially when what they're coloring is already labeled and whatnot. I don't see any sort of higher level thinking skills in use. Maybe someone here can clear that up for me?

    Homework is effective when it gives students the opportunity to practice a skill learned in class. Homework shouldn't be assigned punitively or arbitrarily. Homework can be an effective pre-learning strategy, as well--like asking students to read information or do a overnight quickwrite before you talk about it in class.

    I'm not sure about whether amount of homework assigned correlates to effectiveness as a teacher.
     
  12. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,974
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 4, 2010

    1. Not necessarily. I assign homework homework when it's needed. In AP Euro that means my kids have about a chapter to do every week. Usually, homework in AP Euro is due every Monday and Wednesday. It consists of reading the chapter, answering questions, defining terms, and an extension activity. My Honors kids (freshman), I really need to start letting them do more on their own time. Currently, we have the occasional assignment, 2-3 times per week, however most of the time I allow them to start it in-class and it's at most 10 pages of reading with questions and the occasional activity.

    2. I think that in Elementary School students should have little to no homework. In Middle School, 60-90 minutes is efficient. In HS, it depends on the level of the classes, however if students plan on going to college they should be assigned homework, particularly reading in most of their classes. In my school, the English and Math teachers, tend to assign way to much work. My sons English 10 Honors class reads more than some upper-level college courses and his Honors Algebra II class has more homework than the Linear Algebra class I took a few years ago. That's a bit much.

    3. The effectiveness of homework depends on the class. I see three main purposes of homework: 1) preview 2) review/mastery and 3) enrichment. I have read a lot of research that preview assignments in the form of reading are not effective. According to what I've read reading should be completed AFTER it is discussed in class. I'm not sure how I feel about that because the students would have a context for their reading. My discussions and class activities would be limited if students didn't have any background, but then again, it would make the reading easier for my students. Therefore, I'm playing around with this idea.

    3. It depends. Some teachers are effective without assigning any homework. Some assign busy work which is NOT effective. In my school, many of the math teachers assign tedious amounts of homework and I understand the need for practice. However, teachers have to realize that other classes are just as important as theirs. Also if students if students have 50 factoring problems and do all of them wrong, it's going to much harder to reteach, as if they only had 20.
     
  13. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,256
    Likes Received:
    3

    Nov 4, 2010

    If you don't practice, you don't get better. If you only practice with the teacher holding your hand so to speak (i.e. K-2nd) you don't get better. If you practice independently at your house with your parents so they can see what their children are doing they will get better.

    You can't expect a baby to just jump up and walk! They have to practice, have your GUIDANCE and then try it ON THEIR OWN to get better.
     
  14. Rox

    Rox Cohort

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    586
    Likes Received:
    19

    Nov 4, 2010

    I love that we can clearly see who has read the article and who hasn't :)

    1. Do you assign homework every night?
    Yes. I used to give less, until parents complained that their students didn't get enough homework :-(
    2. Do students receive too much/too little homework in general?
    Too much
    3. What makes a homework assignment effective?
    Since I teach special ed, if I can send something home that forces their parents to communicate/work with their child, it can be effective. If it's something that's too complicated, it's pretty much useless.
    4. Does the amount of homework a teacher assigns reflect the effectiveness of that teacher?
    There are too many variables involved with this question.

    I do think that homework can be beneficial in some ways. For example, if a teacher explains a specific strategy and a student doesn't get it, the parents could probably explain it in a better way that the child understands.

    I enjoyed reading the article. Thanks for sharing!
     
  15. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 4, 2010

    Thank you all for responding! I enjoyed reading about everyone's perspectives on homework.

    I teach foreign language, so students have regular homework assignments to help them reinforce the lessons they learn in class. They are usually not very time-consuming, but they are assigned nearly every day. However, I want to be very conscious of the usefulness of the homework I assign (is it mindless busywork or helpful practice?), and I do think there is such a thing as too much.

    What sparked my curiosity was a sample philosophy of teaching that I read online in which a teacher touted the the value of homework. It struck me as an odd thing to write in a philosophy of teaching, so I started investigating to see what educators think about homework and what researchers say about it. I was surprised to see how divided the education world is!
     
  16. chessimprov

    chessimprov Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2009
    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 7, 2010

    I've been told by many experienced staff and admin in my district that I should give homework most nights of the week. Admin. because they want to see schools with standard acceptable educational practices and staff say this because these people think that the culture of the school needs this kind of discipline. And it's not that I try to give them homework just to give them homework, but at times I feel like it ends up that way because I am under scrutiny to give homework because that's what the district seems to want. And then managing time with all the stress and issues of the job and outside life. etc.
     
  17. teacher333

    teacher333 Devotee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,143
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 7, 2010

    After having just had parent-teacher conferences, the age-old question re: HW arises yet again - for some, there is too little and for others, too much! Our own District is reviewing our HW policy this year. We always assign math HW to allow the class to practice and "cement" what we have done in class. Spelling HW is given at the beginning of the work, and for each day there is a different HW assignment, so for some who choose to do it all at once, they will not have spelling HW every day. Science and social studies is given only when studying for a quiz/test, reading an introductory guide to what we will be covering in class, etc. Our fear is if we give no HW, kids will not be doing anything academic once out of school, and this has happened in the past. We also assign reading, at least 15 min each night. I am sure if you research what other countries do re: the HW issue, especially those countries that rank ahead of us in education, you will find HW is on their agenda.
     
  18. LastPlaceJason

    LastPlaceJason Rookie

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2010
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 7, 2010

    Homework is a silly idea. I think Kohn perfectly sums up the arguments. In my own opinion, if you can't teach it in the confines of the allotted class time, you need to simply your methods. In a society of habitual workaholics, it does little good to teach kids that they must bring "work" home with them.
     
  19. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2010
    Messages:
    1,150
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 7, 2010

    I'm coming in a bit late, but I would still like to give my two cents.

    I'm pro homework except for -

    A) Teachers who completely load the kids, especially primary level, down with to much of it (my grade level chair at my first school used to give the kids worksheets for EVERY subject EVERY night. So...6 subjects x 5 nights a week is about 30 sheets for the kids. We went through so much paper. Most of the kids didnt do it, but she refused to lighten the load.)

    B) Weekend homework.
    -we are required to give weekend homework at my current school and I think it's unfair to the kids. They do so much work during the school day. Now that recess is only 15 minutes they barely get time to be kids. So I think they should have Saturday and Sundays to relax.
     
  20. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Messages:
    2,403
    Likes Received:
    1

    Nov 8, 2010

    I am the same way. In my class, the only regular homework would be finishing something unfinished in class. At times I do purposely give a larger assignment, knowing that they won't be able to finish it and will have to complete it for homework.

    The other homework that we will have is either reading, particularly if we are doing a novel, and working on an essay - I refuse to give class time to word process. The problems with both of these is that with reading, they won't do it if there isn't an assignment attached. I can't just say "Read to pg. 25" because they won't. And with writing, they always wait til the last minute to do essays so it seems like they have a couple hours of homework instead of just breaking it up each night.
     
  21. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3,424
    Likes Received:
    596

    Nov 8, 2010

    I teach an elective. My students have seven other classes, most of which are AP level. So I try to give as little homework as possible.
     
  22. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,256
    Likes Received:
    3

    Nov 8, 2010

    I think that is an ignorant thought. Already we are being told that 180 days of school Sept-June isn't enough because they "lose" what they have learned. Homework is supposed to help that and as I said they PRACTICE what they have learned.

    So, why don't you start flying a plane perfectly and no, you don't get any practice. Just do it after sitting all day learning about it. Yea...not gonna happen.
     
  23. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Messages:
    6,123
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 8, 2010

    I teach PreK. Although I usually have a "at home" section on my newsletter with things they can do at home to extend the learning, I don't assign homework (other than the occasional "hey, if you're outside with mom and dad this weekend and you see any really pretty leaves, bring them in for me!"). I do encourage my parents to READ with their children and TALK TO THEM, but that's it.

    Thinking back to when I was in high school, I think the overall work load was pretty intense. I remember I typically had math practice problems (typically it was odds only because even were in the book... or even only because then we could check that we did it right), written science homework of some sort, vocabulary practice for Spanish (at the least), and reading for almost every subject sans math. That doesn't include the ongoing essays or papers or projects. Except on rare occasions, it was at LEAST 2 hours a night, often 3+. Yes, I was Honors/AP for almost every class, but that wasn't an unusually large workload for any of my friends, honors or not.

    I was active in a variety of clubs, band (which also required nightly individual practice), and choir and youth group at church. I often had after school or evening meetings, practices, or rehearsals, as well as many weekends.

    I took my grades very seriously, but found myself having to prioritize, especially on reading assignments... reading that had questions to accompany them that would get turned in for a grade, or reading for a class where the teacher often gave pop quizzes, often took priority... which mean the novel reading for English was generally the LAST thing to get read, when I was falling asleep, if it got read at all. It was not unusual for us to be reading between classes or during work time in another class to *try* to get caught up (made the flow of the novel very difficult to understand)... I hated doing not having it all done, but there are only so many hours in the day and a minimum amount of sleep was important.

    Homework IS important... as long as it isn't busy work, and as long as everyone realizes they aren't the only class requirng homework.

    Alice, I WISH my teachers in HS had subscribed to your 20-minute policy.
     
  24. ChemTeachBHS

    ChemTeachBHS Comrade

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2009
    Messages:
    352
    Likes Received:
    15

    Nov 8, 2010

    I teach special ed chemistry so many of my kids do not have the tools to do a lot of homework on their own. I assign a homework assignment on Monday (about an hour's worth) and it's due on Friday. This gives kids a whole week to get any help they need. It also means the assignment is more meaningful as opposed to assigning a worksheet for example so the sake of giving homework. I found that the percentage of kids doing their homework has gone up as opposed to when we gave it every night.
     
  25. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 8, 2010

    The thing is that Kohn backs up his conclusion with dozens and dozens of studies. The conclusions are pretty clear. With the exception of high school level advanced math, homework has no positive impact on either comprehension, or achievement for the students, but there is a definite correlation present- homework is definitely connected to reducing students' enjoyment of school, and is offputting for many kids who might otherwise have enjoyed school.

    Additionally, we have to make sure that if we do use homework we are using it for the right reason. Homework is NOT for practice, but should be used to demonstrate mastery if used at all.

    As Rick Wormeli points out, practice does not make perfect, but it does make permanent. Many times, back when I did advocate homework, I had kids who would learn information or techniques incorrectly and it took FOREVER to break those useless habits. Sometimes I am not certain I was ever able to.
     
  26. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    358
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 9, 2010

    This is my concern. In a foreign language classroom, students NEED practice outside of class. However, it is easy for students to reinforce BAD GRAMMAR with certain homework assignments. This was a point of contention I had with my cooperating teacher during student teaching. She had students MEMORIZE entire compositions (1 page typed) and recite them to the class, but I thought students were just tattooing bad grammatical constructions onto their brains. I have to think very carefully about the kind of homework I assign, and I think it's important to review it in class and do extension activities with the corrected homework to make sure students know WHY their answers were wrong.
     
  27. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    6

    Nov 9, 2010

    That's part of my logic for only assigning the odd numbered problems....the ones with the answers in the back of the book. My students know that I don't accept "work" if there's only an answer. I spend time teaching them how to use their resources to double check their work. They know that if they do a problem, and check it and they didn't come up with the right answer, then they can go back and figure out where they went wrong. If they can't figure it out, then they can tell me that, and that's good enough. The end result is either that they get the needed practice, or we are able to identify what they're not understanding and I can reteach either whole group or individually.
     
  28. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    229

    Nov 9, 2010

    I think the debate on homework is not necessarily clear. Some posters here have said that homework is ineffective, and I know I have seen that in research, but I have seen the opposite as well. So, it's not really clear cut. Homework I give is to practice what was learned in class because I do believe that practice is important, and I do also understand that practice makes permanent and that kids can be practicing incorrectly; however, I do not accept homework unless it is correct, so students have to correct their work if it is almost entirely incorrect (most of their parents help them with their homework, so generally they have done it correctly). I also do not agree in assigning homework just for the sake of assigning it. That really peeves me. The homework I give is minimal, but it practices what we are doing in class.
     
  29. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 9, 2010

    That is one point that Rick Wormeli actually makes- if you assign homework make sure you assign it to a kid who has definitely mastered the skills that the homework will employ. If a student does not have the skills mastered, then they should not get the homework that evening. It is still fair, in that the kids who did not have homework tonight, when everyone else did, will have homework tomorrow night after they have demonstrated in class they have learned the skills, while the kids who already had that homework the night before will have none.

    Does that make it more clear.
     
  30. teacher333

    teacher333 Devotee

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Messages:
    1,143
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 10, 2010

    That's the great thing about data - it can be manipulated to whatever the data-taker wants it to show!
     
  31. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2004
    Messages:
    506
    Likes Received:
    20

    Nov 10, 2010

    Seems to me that my students would be way behind after even one day of this...our block schedule means that we essentially need to teach what used to be two days worth of material each block day. If the student waited to do the homework until she understood it perfectly in class, she'd be two days behind each day she didn't do the homework. This will snowball on her very quickly.
    There are usually lots of examples given in classwork, and the book has examples and explanations, and I'm available at lunch and after school for extra help, and online there are so many resources, that I expect the my kids will try to learn it and at least try to do every question. Even if they are still not sure they understand the material by the end of class, they might understand after trying the homework following the steps and directions and examples they should have in their notes and the text. If not, they can get some help from me after school or at lunch or in class the next day we meet.
     
  32. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Messages:
    840
    Likes Received:
    9

    Nov 10, 2010

    I did not read all the posts in this thread, but the whole HW thing gets my attention. As a parent, I abhor it! It totally interrupts family time. We have 4 kids (14, 10, 8, and 8). We carefully limit media time (that would include TV as well as computer time... we don't own video games). My kids are NOT over-scheduled by any means - they are each allowed ONE 'other' activity (2 take piano, 1 does Boy Scouts, 1 is in football). Once they are in 3rd grade, they attend Hebrew School one day a week.

    That being said, I am not a fan of homework. The kids all have reading logs to fill out (this, by the way, does not promote a love of reading), and they all have spelling lists to practice. In addition, they have other homework on top of that. It's too much.
     
  33. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 10, 2010

    Cooper also backs up his conclusion with dozens and dozens of studies and, unlike Kohn, does not dismiss or demean studies that don't fully support his conclusion.

    I read both articles and all comments in this thread. The article by Cooper was written very professionally and objectively (IMO). He examines and analyzes the evidence presented and summarizes the conclusions of the studies, then draws his own conclusions from those. He objectively lists studies that did not correlate with his conclusions, pointing out consistently that experts disagree on the effectiveness of homework.

    Kohn, on the other hand, appears to have a definite agenda in his article; I'm right and any study or expert that disagrees is wrong. He arbitrarily dismisses and/or demeans any research that doesn't coincide with his conclusion. He loudly harps on the evidence showing the lack of correlation in homework and achievement at elementary school level, while acknowledging some studies do show a correlation at the high school level. But then he immediately demeans those same studies and emphatically states that it can't really be proven the higher achievement was related to homework at all.

    Cooper also cites other references (mostly his own, admittedly) to the studies he reviewed. Kohn lists no references at all. Apparently we are just supposed to accept Kohn's word that his conclusion is correct. Having read both articles, I can only say Cooper comes off being far more credible than Kohn. Any time a researcher must resort to ridiculing opposing studies or findings, it makes their own research appear inherently weak. If their findings could stand on their own merit, there would be no reason to demonize opposing studies.
     
  34. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Messages:
    3,094
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 10, 2010

    No, not really. HOW is a kid suppose to gain mastery of skills without practicing them first? That is completely counter-intuitive. It reminds me of the warning my grandmother gave my mom and uncles - Don't you DARE go near that water until you've learned how to swim!

    Uhm....exactly HOW were they supposed to learn to swim before getting IN the water? :confused:

    I agree that homework should not be given just for the sake of giving homework. Nor should it be "busy work" or take an hour every night. I certainly prefer my students work on their assignments during class so I can offer guided instruction and answer questions they have. But math skills DO require practice to learn and understand. I can explain and illustrate the Pythagorean Theorem for an entire week, but until the students try to work some problems themselves, they aren't going to really understand it. And once they DO practice it on their own, the "light bulb" will eventually click on as to why it works and (most importantly) HOW that information can be used to apply the Pythagorean Theorem to different situations.

    I generally give a "homework" assignment at least 4 days a week. I used the quotation marks because the students are actually given enough time in class to complete at least 50%-80% of the work assigned IF they use their time productively. Even if they have to take the work home, they should be finished in 20 minutes at the most.

    I also don't rely solely on drill and rote recall. I do usually begin with a few problems like that, but I always include 1-3 problems that require them to APPLY the concept to a different situations. I do my best to include problems that promote critical thinking as well as knowledge of the rules being applied.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Mrs. K.
Total: 288 (members: 2, guests: 256, robots: 30)
test