Monday, February 18, 2013

A Teacher's Blog Post

I came across a teacher's blog post in which she calls homework "a necessary evil." She refers to time management as well. I posted a comment regarding what may be the true "evil" in homework and about misconceptions teachers having regarding time. Here's the link to the blog and here's the comment I left.

I think we sometimes overlook the number one "evil" about homework and that is that teachers are not taught the theory, research, and practice of homework-giving when they go to school. For a practice that has such large weight on the student's grade and has such a high potential of turning the child permanently off to education, the field actually gives it very little attention, in its schools of education, in its continuing education programs, and on its professional blogs and websites (although a little more on blogs and websites than elsewhere). If teachers studied homework the way they studied other aspects of teaching, there would be far less controversy.

Regarding the issue of time management, it is a misconception that homework teaches time management. It is like a credit card. If you know how to manage your money, you can use a credit card well. If you don't know how to manage your money, you need to give up the credit card and start working with the cash in your pocket, or in your checking account. Homework can only teach time management if students are instructed to stop working after a specific period of time. We need to distinguish our goal of teaching children good study skills for their future success from the notion that simply assigning homework and setting consequences for its not getting done is achieving that educational goal.

For more information on Dr. Goldberg's model, read other postings on this blog, visit his website, The Homework Trap, or read his book, The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers. 




Leslie said...

Thank you for your comment on my blog, and I appreciate your opinion. I liked your anology of homework being like a credit card. If we never issue them the homework, the credit card if you will, then how on earth can students learn to use it correctly? My post referred to the lack of issuing valid homework that I have seen in 3 different districts that I have worked for. I completely agree with the time frame needed for students to know that homework is not made to overtake their lives. No job should overtake your life... live to work or work to live? I have told students that you should spend 10mins x your grade level on homework.
In 6th grade, that is one hour. Sounds like a lot, but when I told them that might be 20 mins on math, 20 mins on sci/ss and 20 minutes reading your novel, they dont seem as if the one hour is a difficult task. Homwork should not overtake, but it does need to be given. In order to have well-rounded students, they need to practice outside of the school along with extra-curricular activities. This is all about managing their time. My post was about how homework bennifited me in school, and how my view point of its importance has changed. It is necessary. For me and my classroom, homework is not checked for right or wrong, but for completeion... did the student even try? We do check over it together and discuss it. Students see what they did incorrectly,and they know that is what they need to review. I have taught them this... If they got all of the problems right, then they know "I've mastered this." Practice.
Homework is a sticky subject, and a lot of teachers dance along the line as to its importance. My post is all about why it is important in my opinion. Hopefully it will help some teachers view homework in a differnt light. That's why I wrote it.

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Alicia Conway said...

I believe that homework is for good. Children in such a way understand better. But as a parent, I have to control homework process, as well. Therefore, sometimes, I use special
services, so that I will be able to explain kids things which I don't understand myself.