Monday, April 30, 2012

Homework Relief Forum

I was so impressed with a blog I read from a teacher who decided to experiment with no homework that I've decided to set up a new forum for teachers to report their experiences with homework relief. Here's the link to her blog. Starting today, I am inviting teachers around the world to conduct their own "no homework" or "reduced homework" experiments. Your experiment can go on for a week or for a year. Challenge your old ideas, test out a reduced homework concept, and report it as a comment to this blog. As long as you report the results of your experiment, we'll keep it here for all to readIf you simply share your pre-existing beliefs about homework, we'll take the comment down. The idea is to test the notions teachers have about homework and report the results of those tests.

I am aware, and quite sympathetic to teachers, that they are expected to develop homework policies with virtually no training in their schools of education. I don't understand how schools of education fail to have courses called "Homework" in them. Teachers are expected to use homework as a common practice with no orientation to its history, research, and technique.  I'm a psychologist and have worked in the field for 35 years. Although I've learned a lot along the way, I had courses in psychotherapy and psychological testing and that gave me the foundation to understand what I was doing as a starting point for my further work. Teachers are well trained in how to teach children. They get no training at all in how to give homework, at least until they start their student teaching at which point they are modeling the work of other teachers who, like them, never had courses in homework.

So, here's your chance to consider new ideas, post them on my blog, and join a discussion that asks the questions: Does homework work? Does it work for all students? What should we be doing?

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