September 20, 2013
Should I Stop Assigning Homework?

I have written in the past about my hatred of homework from the perspective of both a teacher and a parent, so when I heard about a teacher who had ditched the practice of assigning homework altogether, I was intrigued and skeptical. Former teacher Mark Barnes wrote in a post called “Homework: It fails our students and undermines American education”:
Students often ask me why I don’t assign homework. “I don’t believe in it,” I quickly respond. “It doesn’t tell me what you’re learning.” They forge ahead with furrowed eyebrows. “Then why do all of our other teachers assign homework?” Although I typically leave that one alone, my experience tells me that the answer isn’t at all elusive. The average educator was taught in her pre-service days that homework is a part of every teacher’s instructional handbag. You lecture, model, assign a worksheet and follow that up with homework that, in many cases, looks a lot like the worksheet. Then you test and move on. Students who don’t complete homework receive zeroes, but they learn a valuable lesson about responsibility, many teachers argue, even though there’s no legitimate research connecting responsibility to homework. 
While I’ve read the research, and I know that there’s little academic benefit to homework before middle school, and even then, the benefit is limited, I’ve continued to assign homework all these years for a couple of reasons. One, students, teachers, parents, and administrators expect me to, and when I don’t I am labeled an “easy” teacher, viewed as less serious or rigorous than my colleagues. Parents may rage about the veritable avalanche of homework that threatens to suffocate their children, but in my experience, parents also view that avalanche as a badge of honor, evidence of academic rigor.
Read more. [Image: Easa Shamih/flickr]

Should I Stop Assigning Homework?

I have written in the past about my hatred of homework from the perspective of both a teacher and a parent, so when I heard about a teacher who had ditched the practice of assigning homework altogether, I was intrigued and skeptical. Former teacher Mark Barnes wrote in a post called “Homework: It fails our students and undermines American education”:

  • Students often ask me why I don’t assign homework. “I don’t believe in it,” I quickly respond. “It doesn’t tell me what you’re learning.” They forge ahead with furrowed eyebrows. “Then why do all of our other teachers assign homework?” Although I typically leave that one alone, my experience tells me that the answer isn’t at all elusive. The average educator was taught in her pre-service days that homework is a part of every teacher’s instructional handbag. You lecture, model, assign a worksheet and follow that up with homework that, in many cases, looks a lot like the worksheet. Then you test and move on. Students who don’t complete homework receive zeroes, but they learn a valuable lesson about responsibility, many teachers argue, even though there’s no legitimate research connecting responsibility to homework. 

While I’ve read the research, and I know that there’s little academic benefit to homework before middle school, and even then, the benefit is limited, I’ve continued to assign homework all these years for a couple of reasons. One, students, teachers, parents, and administrators expect me to, and when I don’t I am labeled an “easy” teacher, viewed as less serious or rigorous than my colleagues. Parents may rage about the veritable avalanche of homework that threatens to suffocate their children, but in my experience, parents also view that avalanche as a badge of honor, evidence of academic rigor.

Read more. [Image: Easa Shamih/flickr]

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    Should I Stop Assigning Homework? I have written in the past about my hatred of homework from the perspective of both a...
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    I hate making, giving, getting, collecting, and correcting homework! Why does society want to kill the love of learning...
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