To homework or not to homework?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by horned_Frog89, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    It takes away an opportunity for them to challenge themselves towards growth. In other words, if person A is below standard, person B is at standard, and person C is above standard and already mastered it, our goal should be driving growth for all of them. Unless it's a skill person C needs brushing up on, they should be utilizing that time to extend themselves with other challenges.

    HW needs to be differentiated, just like we do in class.
     
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  2. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    ....
     
  3. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    ...
     
  4. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Yep. You might be mad that easy, quick work, that gives a grade boost disappears (I was responding to someone who said the homework was for the sake of responsibility not academic mastery). I see in that case that is an artificial grade boost if tests and quizzes weren't perfect or worse unneeded points and only for ego.
     
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  5. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    Maybe I'm just too complacent about stuff like this. I've always just accepted that some of the stuff I have to do is because other people didn't follow the rules. It doesn't bother me.

    Maybe it's because I'm older? 43 isn't old, of course *ahem*, but I notice that the group of us in my school who are around the same age and have been teaching for about the same amount of time (over 15 years for me), have a different way of approaching things than some of the newer and/or younger faculty. We actually adopted the phrase "Suck it up, Buttercup!" as our unofficial motto and joked about putting up signs in our classrooms and even getting t-shirts made, LOL.

    Or maybe it's because I teach older students? A lot of my students are college-bound, where being self-disciplined about studying and doing work outside of the classroom is going to be vital.

    I don't know. The debate rages on, I guess.
     
  6. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Could be? A huge part of my personal aversion to homework is I teach 2nd grade. I generally think kids should be spending time with friends and family, playing and such, after school.

    I didn't have homework until jr. high and I think I'm one of the most responsible people I know. I don't feel, upon starting homework, I was underprepared for it for never having homework before. As with many things, you don't actually need a lifelong prep toward something as innocuous as homework.
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Could be you are just old. He he he.

    That is really funny since you have no idea how old I am. Could be 25 or 55. I might be older and wiser or a baby in your eyes who isn't experienced enough to know better.
     
  8. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

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    LOL! Trust me, some of the "youngsters" I work with are teaching me a thing or two. We've got some great new/young teachers, and I don't mean to stereotype either group. Just thought maybe it could explain the difference. Maybe homework in the 80's was more fun than homework is now. In fact, I'm almost positive it was. Everything was more fun in the 80's! ;)
     
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  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    And you have the Finnish students not having homework until upper grades but somehow still do very well.

    Guess there is more than one way for kids to succeed.
     
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  10. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    A2z beat me to the Finnish anecdote. But my students will likely do just fine. Plus, their mental health will likely be significantly higher than certain categories of those foreign students complete with a significantly lower suicide rate. They will have the social skills and experience to get great jobs plus obviously have the training that will gear them for a lot more than a secretary job. Because economics.

    @Teacherhere, you have yet to provide a single statistic or even a real anecdote stating that kids who do homework to satisfy some teacher's crazy need for power do better in life.

    And yes, despite common myth, American students don't do too shabby in the global educational world.
     
  11. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Just look at my class this year to show that isn't necessarily the only way to drive success:

    No reading requirements. Not assigned. No consequences for not reading (just my working with them to better understand themselves as a reader). Twice as much reading and 75% more growth on the state tests than the other fourth graders who had to keep a reading log and were required to read a certain number and type of books each month.

    As a2z said, there's more than one approach. Again, we need to meet each child's individual needs. Simply assigning more homogeneous homework isn't the solution.
     
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  12. Backroads

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    Another addition... @Teacherhere , have you even talked to anyone from this high-performing countries? A HUGE, HUGE part of their success is considered due to a close family and community culture, the very thing you're suggesting we do away with. Since you think it's evil for kids to have friends.
     
  13. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I think a key bit is that giving/requiring homework does not automatically equate with a higher level of hard work / principle (again, look at my last post in this thread for proof of that). We teach the hard work & principle itself, not just give students assignments in the hope that they automatically will develop that life skill.
     
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  14. Backroads

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    And the alpha and omega of your plan is to assign useless homework?
     
  15. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    First, no one in here is considering a lower standard of achievement or excellence. I don't accept excuses either: if a student describes how they didn't have time to read over the weekend, we talk about the opportunities they probably did have, but just didn't realize or take advantage of. These kids are stronger because of not having homework: they'll achieve excellence without being asked to.

    I don't see any addressing of your disagreement with the word "useless" here. Besides, by pure definition, homework does take away time from friends and family time. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Obviously it depends to what extent it is: a balance is needed of practice and time with family and friends.
     
  16. Backroads

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    You have disconnected thoughts on here. You say you were bewildered but offer no reasoning for your bewilderment. Why hasn't the intense homework of your youth prepared you to create logical paragraphs?
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  17. Backroads

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    No, we actually don't get killed in math and science. We hold our own very well. The nation is not stumbling in performance and professionalism.

    You continue to admit you don't see family and friend and community ties as important. Why should I accept your values here as my own? I have students who see their parents for at most half an hour every few days. Why is this desirable? What are some proven benefits to unfocused homework that go beyond "not harmful"?

    And please say more than a vague bewilderment at me not reading your mind.
     
  18. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I'm qualified to teach maths and science. My students know my philosophy on not giving homework for homework sake. When I assign work in class, they take it seriously. I hardly ever give homework for science, only if I believe that it serves a purpose. In maths, I give students suggested practice questions, they do it if they wish to further their mastery. My students are doing just fine, they are showing improvements academically, they have balanced lives and aren't going down the proverbial in their attitude and results because of a lack of homework.

    There is more than one way to teach values like work ethic and responsibility and school is one fraction of the big picture. Not every student is academic, by not overburdening them for no reason and letting them have the time to pursue what they are interested in, we are indirectly aiding them in that part of their education. They may be excellent sportspeople or musicians or artists, and when they use their time to pursue those interests, it's them showing commitment, work ethic and responsibility to their chosen area. Just because it's not academic doesn't mean they haven't learnt the life lesson. For those students who do my suggested practise questions, yes they do better academically, but may not be as strong in other areas of their lives.

    I teach predominantly years 8 and 9. I have seen students burn out from the sheer volume of homework. Burnt out at 15, too mentally exhausted to give a damn in the later years of their schooling. What has that gotten those students? Excellent work ethic and sense of responsibility at ages 14 and 15 and then, when it really really matters in high school trying to go to college, they underperform, they know they are underperforming, but mentally, there's nothing left in the tank to do anything about it. Have we really done these kids a service or disservice?
     
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  19. horned_Frog89

    horned_Frog89 Companion

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    Wow!! So much on my little question. I LOVE all of the input.

    I am still leaning towards no homework. Okay. Maybe not Completely doing away with it, but I don't foresee myself giving out homework Monday through Thursday just because I need to "teach my kids a lesson in responsibility."

    I will admit, a lot these past years, I felt as if my homework was "just because" work. I am hoping that if I really minimize homework, that the students will do it when it really counts.

    I'm preparing myself for a once a week-ish homework assignment.

    I also forgot to mention that my classes are double blocked. They're 1.5 hours long. So, it's very rare that we don't get through a solid lesson, guided practice and some sort of student activity.
     
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  20. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I grew up in the system you were in, lots of homework, every day was a cross to bear, yes I survived and I'm educated and mentally tough, but I was miserable. I wasn't living, just existing. Treading water to keep my head above water. Why would I want to give my students this experience? If it's homework worth doing, absolutely. If it's not, then why?

    I saw many many of my classmates burn out. Friends who out-performed me every day of the week and twice on Sunday but never graduated high school or went to college. Because they had had enough. So burnt out is not a new phenomenon of kids now.
     
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  21. horned_Frog89

    horned_Frog89 Companion

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    I'm curious as to what type of school/environment you teach in.
     
  22. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    What skills do you think you developed as a result of so much homework and a job by age 9 that other people didn't? Do you think that other people may have developed a different, equally valuable set of skills, perhaps skills that include the ability to connect and empathize with others, to clearly defend a position without coming across as angry and argumentative, or to bloom where you are planted, i.e. be successful under any circumstances even if not ideal?
     
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  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    [​IMG]
     
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  24. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Interestingly, Albert Einstein - which I think we could agree is "relatively" good at math - was highly against the idea of rote learning (homework, for the most part, tends to be rote learning). And look at how many people have been highly successful, even though they perhaps lacked the "fortitude" to finish high school or college.

    There isn't one path to success and learning, which you seem to be implying.
     
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  25. mrsf70

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    We on the other hand, are hindered by our diverse society. We play the political correct card and don't want to offend anyone. Our education system is built on "feel good" measures rather than what is needed to succeed.

    Our diverse society is what makes us the United States of America. If you are not of Native American heritage, then you are an "immigrant" contributing to the diversity here. Diversity is not a hindrance; diversity is beautiful.

    I have taught in many capacities in my career: Catholic school, inner-city, low SES public middle school, fine arts magnet public school, and now a mid-range public middle school. I can tell you success is defined very differently by the people in each of those demographics. I believe the toughest issue facing education today is poverty. Until that is remedied and those needs are met, education is not a priority for those affected.

    The second issue I see the most problem with is our antiquated system of "school" and the ideas associated with it. The teacher is no longer the great and powerful holder of information. Students have access to a never-ending amount of facts and figures at their fingertips. Education must change and teach how to interpret, analyze, prioritize and utilize the information at their disposal to contribute in a global society.

    Homework does not teach responsibility. It demonstrates who has a solid enough family life to be able to complete school work at home. After 8 hours at school, why should a student continue another 2-3 hours at home? If class time is used as active learning time with engaging, relevant material, homework is not necessary.
     
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  26. Backroads

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    While I won't argue that there aren't benefits the more homogeneous societies have (hey, it works for them), the U.S. has had a great past century and is still arguably holding its own just as well despite or maybe because of diversity. I don't think we've been hindered in anything.
     
  27. GPC0321

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    This is actually very true, and until I read your post, I hadn't even thought about it. You're exactly right. Kids don't need to get information from us. They need to get the skills necessary to use the information that is already there for them. And goodness knows, with wide range of information (both good and bad, true and false) they can access at any moment, teaching them to THINK is probably more critical than ever.
     
  28. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    I assign it because I know that there are parents who want their kids to have homework. I don't have an requirements on actually finishing the homework because I know in many cases it won't happen.
    Keeps everyone happy.
     
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  29. otterpop

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    In previous years, homework held more weight in my grading. This past year I reduced the point value. A kid who did decent on tests and did nearly no homework could pass with a low c or high d. In my class, I had one who did that. Just one though.

    When kids don't do their homework, I talk to them about it and often send home an email to let parents know. I also give them a zero. But, it's no stress on me. If they don't do it, that's on them. (That said, we have a supportive parent community and most of the time, homework gets done.)
     

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