Monday, December 3, 2012

Homework in different countries

Here is an article in the New York Times that discusses the difference in education systems. It's interesting that the title refers to homework (How Much Homework Does it Take to Educate a Nation), when the article is really about philosophies of education. I submitted the following comment:

I find it interesting that the title of this article refers to homework while the body addresses philosophies of education, not homework policy per se. Frankly, one could have an education system that’s focused on technical, concrete results or one that’s focused on equality, creativity, and healthy lifestyle, without the schools assigning or mandating homework.

People have different ideas and cultures vary. Where cultures are more homogenous than we have in the United States, like in Asia or in Finland, there may be little disagreement between parents and teachers on the role of education and the place homework has. In the United States, we value diversity. Our citizens belong to many different subcultures with people subscribing to different points of view.

The problem here in the United States is that the schools have supplanted parental authority through their homework systems. There is a difference between assigning homework and mandating it over the decisions of the parents. We are in the midst of a heated, national homework debate, but what we really need to do is reexamine our view on lines of authority. Teachers need to be fully in charge of the school, but parents need to be fully in charge of their homes.


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.


No comments: