Would we be better off scrapping homework?

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21 December
14:09
Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/donhomer/
December
2016

I don’t think it should be scrapped in the sense that it suddenly became illegal to ask a pupil to research or finish a project outside school hours. I’d like to reserve the option to have tasks which are set outside the lesson boundaries – including revision, which appears to be effective, particularly where study leave is given.

"A factory worker can clock off, go home, and the working day is done – so it seems odd that we’re asking children to do so much. And it’s no surprise that some of them then grow to hate it."

But as we traditionally think of homework, where there’s a pressure on teachers to fill a certain number of hours per week with set tasks, which are then marked – yes, get rid of it!

At the moment, children are meant to achieve 100% school attendance, but then we tell them to go home and do more work. Children in schools keep going for quite a large number of hours – they don’t get free lessons like teachers do. And if I was working in a factory, say, I can clock off, go home, and my working day is done, so it seems odd that we’re asking children to do so much. And it’s no surprise that some of them then grow to hate it.

Learning should be encouraged, but you shouldn’t enforce it. Teachers try to enthuse people with a love of learning – and people need to want to learn. You can’t stop someone from reading up on history in their own time if want to.

Homework is also tedious for teachers to mark, so we could reduce that marking workload. And the most effective way to learn is if feedback is immediate and given there on the spot, rather than after the homework has been marked. The feedback has to be oral and interactive, so it would be better if teachers spent time doing that face-to-face.

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