Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Two from the Washington Post

I found this blog, How to Handle Homework, in The Washington Post. I offered the following comment:

I agree with much of what is said in this article with some exception. Focusing on the comment, “The child is responsible to the teacher for the homework,” I would replace that with “The child is responsible to the teacher in school and to the parent at home. Although most parents will support the teacher in the assignments sent home, the parent remains the authority at home and must have the final say if homework assignments are interfering with normal life.”

I also found this video, A Parent-Teacher Conference Gone Wrong, there. It is an exaggeration and somewhat silly but also highlights a point. I offered the following comment.

What I find interesting in this video is the underlying issue of hierarchy, sadly missed in understanding problems in parent-teacher relationships in general, and homework in particular. The video is an obvious exaggeration, but one can respond with sympathies for both the teacher and the parent. In each case, the dialogue goes awry when individuals take charge of issues outside their zones of control. It is really the parents' decision about the value of the various sports the child attends and the parent has a right to emphasize the learning issues that need to be addressed in the 504, particularly if the child's reading levels are so far below grade expectations. On the other hand, the teacher needs a reasonably free hand teaching in the class, without threats to her job and without excessive pressure to meet standards promulgated by political forces, not well-grounded in educational practice. In the end, homework becomes the battleground for these conflicts because, by its nature, it traverses the boundaries between home and school.
Here is the embedded video:

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Dr. Kenneth Goldberg, is the author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Teachers, and Students, published by Wyndmoor Press.

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