Whether you are a teacher, student or parent, you are likely to have your own opinions about the benefits and purpose of homework. Many educators believe that homework is essential since it bridges the gap between children’s learning at home and school. The theory is that homework will enable students to manage their time wisely and plan out their study schedules.
Time management is a useful skill to have, especially when they reach their senior high school years, university, or employment within the corporate world. Therefore, completing homework early in your child’s schooling years ensures that this task becomes a habit rather than being seen as an inconvenience.
Many teachers find it useful to track students’ progress via their homework submissions, making it easier to notice if a child is falling behind or lacking in understanding. Submitting homework will also develop a student’s character since it’s a good lesson in diligence and responsibility.
Disadvantages of homework
One of the most common arguments against homework is that it takes up rest and recovery time. School is an emotionally, socially, intellectually, and physically enduring daily task, and many students are exhausted in the afterhours. Many children who spend a lot of time with their homework miss out on family bonding time, socialising, chores and extracurricular activities which are also important for real life lessons.
For students in Years 11 and 12, it can be difficult to manage homework especially if they have part-time or casual work. Also, homework assigned during the holidays may cause severe stress for some students and may even lead to sleep deprivation issues.
How much is too much?
Homework can be categorised as a burden and no longer benefit students when it is not carefully planned and implemented. This usually happens when the homework is too challenging or overdone, causing many students to become frustrated and give up.
Teachers can customise a homework based on the age of their students. For ages 10, it is advisable to use other forms of media like a video reference of the topics included in the homework. This will make it more engaging to the students since they will be watching a video rather than just reading a book.
For students ages 13, teachers must provide focused assignments since it is easier for their students to understand and complete. Homework should not reinforce or introduce too many ideas, because it is less likely to contribute to their learning. Not to mention that 13 years old kids haven’t developed their abstract thinking yet, so they cannot handle too many concepts at once. This is particularly true for some maths concepts, which are difficult to teach, let alone learn on your own.
Lastly, 16 year old students often get bored if all their homework is similar. Therefore, teachers must try mixing styles and approaches. This makes each assignment unique, engaging, and enjoyable.
How to motivate students both in class and at home
Teachers must design a balanced homework schedule and figure out ways to give students immediate feedback. This is relatively applicable for preschool and elementary students.
Teachers who are working with high school students must leverage homework to require students to read a chapter of a book at home, watch a video, create a second draft of an essay, or reflect on a topic recently tackled in the classroom. Homework tasks should be created in such a way that students can work through them without support.
Teachers can make homework less overwhelming when they give students flexibility on when they can submit their assignment. This will be beneficial for students in Years 11 and 12 since they can work around other commitments before completing their homework.
Some teachers choose to overextend students during class time, setting high volumes of work which, if not completed in class, must be completed for homework. This will motivate students to knuckle down during class time, so they have less homework. It sometimes helps to set fun and engaging practical tasks based on the topics already discussed.
Lastly, teachers should communicate with parents of students who are not completing their homework, so they can trouble shoot and problem solve ways to motivate and assist this student.
Overall, homework that is age-appropriate, relevant, and engaging can enhance learning and instil good study habits.
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