Thursday, November 15, 2012

An Experienced Teacher's Opinion on Homework

Homework: It Fails our Students and Undermines American Education. Here is an interesting article about homework by an experienced teacher. I agree with what he says although I do believe that we should respect teachers, even those who do not agree with the anti-homework movement. As I've said before, I think the issue has to do with power and authority more than homework philosophy itself. Is homework being given with the consent of the parents or does it override parental authority? Here's the comment I posted to that article:

I don't think the issue is whether homework should or should not be given. It's a matter of whether parents have authority over their own homes. I don't mind teachers giving homework. I have a problem with teachers enforcing homework over my objections (at least when my kids were young). I have three grown children. For two, homework was okay. For the third, it proved a major problem. I was surprised to learn that I was rendered helpless to make my own decisions about what took place in my home.

I think professional teachers will have disagreements among themselves about what homework should or should not be assigned. Some teachers, like the author of this article, will change their minds as they proceed through their careers. That's okay. That's part of developing as a professional.

The problem has nothing to do with differences in philosophy. It has to do with having the absolute power to enforce one's decisions, made in the classroom, over activities in the home. In the end, parents must have the final say. Once we accept that, I think we will find a great improvement in parent-teacher relationships and we will see more thoughtfulness in what homework gets assigned.

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

 I recommend giving copies of the book to the teachers at your child's school. Discount purchases are available through Wyndmoor Press. Single copies can be purchased at Amazon.

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