Reasons Against Homework

Reasons Against Homework-46
Canadian author and public policy contributor André Picard has also argued that homework is counterproductive. Let’s get rid of the homework and build in more family activity time.

But there seems to be more substantive arguments against homework for kids under the age of 14 than there are for it.

Here's a scenario: As a typical parent-teacher meeting concludes, the Grade 5 teacher thanks parents for attending and asks for any questions about how the class will operate during the year.

In many studies the relationship between homework and “learning” (often defined as grades or standardised test scores) is negative.

Teachers acknowledge that they do not enjoy the ongoing administration and follow up homework requires.

Many families find that homework occupies a significant component of their afternoons. Extra-curricular activities provide teaching opportunities for children as well as the chance to develop other skills, talents, and intelligence.

Homework impinges on the opportunity parents have to expose their children to activities such as music lessons, cycling, swimming, church activities, and more. Just thinking back to the mountains of work gives me a feeling akin to hearing fingernails on a blackboard. In that light, I’m a little uncomfortable proposing what could be considered the most populist proposal ever. It’s a wish I’m sure we all heard throughout our school lives.Indeed, “there is no evidence that any amount of homework improves the academic performance of primary school students”, according to Professor Harris Cooper, one of the most respected homework researchers in the world.Cooper indicates that while he is personally pro-homework, there appears to be no academic advantage for children to do homework.Technological improvements mean the TV-on-wheels no longer needs to be wheeled in but the projector provides the same result. Parents would need to ensure the homework time isn’t simply replaced with screen time.After a day like this, our children are sent home with homework to do. A strong campaign would be needed to encourage evening exercise.One mother asks the teacher to ensure the children receive plenty of homework to help them prepare for the upcoming NAPLAN test later in the year.Heads nod in agreement and the teacher confirms the state Education Department requires homework to be assigned to all students. For young children (under 14-15 years) there is absolutely no scientific research which supports the inclusion of homework in their extra-curricular activities.Numerous studies have shown the benefits of homework for secondary school students. The Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative carried out by the Health Service Executive in conjunction with the National Nutrition Surveillance Centre in UCD this year makes for worrying reading.There is an argument to be made that primary school homework gets students into the habit and increases from there. On the contrary, it seems that six years of secondary school homework, often followed by college is more than enough. One in five of our children are overweight or obese.


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