There is a great debate about homework, can an agreement be reached in the educational community?
Since there is formal and regulated education in our country, the strategy of sending homework has been maintained, from Primary to University. However, it seems that in recent years there has been an increase in the amount of homework given to children, even from a very early age, such as Infant.
The amount of homework depends largely on the school and even on the teachers themselves. In recent years, a debate has arisen in which the main reason for disagreement is whether homework is really effective in improving students’ academic performance.
WHAT IS CLEAR IS THAT NOWADAYS NO ONE AGREES
Students complain that they spend too much time corresponding to their free time doing a lot of homework; the teachers complain about the lack of time to prepare the homework in a more adequate way and about the lack of understanding on the part of the parents; Parents, on the other hand, regret that children often need their help or external assistance to carry out these tasks and that the excessive time involved alters family dynamics.
ARE HOMEWORK NECESSARY?
Nowadays, given the intensity to which this debate has reached, we have tended to focus on educational models, often typical of the Nordic countries, where the education system does not propose sending homework as something formal. However, keep in mind that there are strong arguments both for and against duties:
Those who defend the homework strategy stand out as advantages that:
– Homework helps to retain and understand more effectively the knowledge raised in the classroom.
– They force children to study and revise every day, so that they arrive more prepared when it comes to taking exams.
– They improve certain habits such as time organization and planning.
– They help to establish routines and habits of autonomy and responsibility for the future.
– During the holidays , they help not to lose the routine of studying.
– They connect home with school.
However, those who are against the homework strategy defend the following as disadvantages :
– The hours students spend in school, which often resemble the hours corresponding to the adult working day, should be more than enough for children to consistently acquire the necessary knowledge.
– The extra hours they spend at home doing an excessive amount of homework supposes both physical and emotional fatigue that leads to satiety and even rejection of everything related to school.
– The possibility of doing extra-school activities and children’s free time is limited.
– As a consequence, the reduction in free time also affects family dynamics and the time that parents have to spend with their children.
– Activities are often too complex and children need direct help from their parents to do their homework.
– All students have the same duties, so there is an important difference between high and low performance students.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO REACH AN AGREEMENT?
It seems clear that there is no single ideal position. Perhaps the debate should not focus so much on the extreme possibility, either of eliminating the duties altogether or of maintaining the strategies as before. It may be that the most ideal would be to reach a middle position , maintaining the benefits of homework and reducing the inconvenience that often comes with it.
The fact that homework forces children to have to carry out certain daily tasks is beneficial when it comes to establishing certain routines and obligations that they must take care of themselves. If these students continue to climb the levels of the educational career, when they reach higher courses or the University, they will necessarily be forced to study to bring the subject up to date, given the large amount of content they will have to face. Having these routines established from a young age can help them in the future. However, to establish this habit it may be enough to start in more advanced grades of primary school or in ESO.
HOMEWORK SHOULD HELP US PREPARE FOR EXAMS
The argument that homework helps to connect the school with the school has its reason for being, as long as the strategy is raised in the right way. In order to really be in contact with teachers and parents, mutual feedback would be necessary regarding the child’s needs, their achievements, their difficulties and the recommendations that can be made in both directions. Unfortunately, this does not happen very often.
As we say, the amount of homework depends largely on the strategy followed by each school and even each teacher in particular. For this reason, children can notice important differences in terms of the amount of homework between one course and another, even when they are in the same school. These changes would break with the idea of gradually acquiring the habits and routines of daily study.
We are continually emphasizing that the positive part of homework is to reinforce and consolidate the knowledge acquired. Therefore, if the homework that is sent home is not well explained and already worked on in the classroom, it will be useless. Instead, students may acquire knowledge the wrong way and become frustrated by not understanding what to do, as often not even parents know how to solve these exercises.
THE SAME ACTIVITIES FOR EVERYONE?
Something that is extremely common is to send the same homework to all the children in the classroom and this seems to make very little sense. If there are students with good performance since they have already acquired the necessary knowledge in the classroom, it does not seem necessary that they have to work on it more at home. Instead, alternative activities could be proposed to them, in order to increase and deepen these concepts.
If there are students with low performance or with learning difficulties , reinforcement activities could be proposed, but taking into account that these children often take longer to do these tasks, so you should be aware of the work that is sent home , adapting the exercises and always respecting their rhythms and their free time.
What we professionals who work with learning difficulties often find are children who do not acquire in the classroom the knowledge and concepts that are raised there. So when they come home with homework, they often don’t even know what to do. Even if they know it, the tasks are often so long and so little adapted to each individual case, that they spend the week afternoons and a large part of the weekend doing exercises that are of little use to consolidate their knowledge. On the other hand, they will cause frustration, satiety and anxiety that can affect even the rest of the family, as they are overwhelmed with tasks and with reduced family leisure time, even at a very early age.
SO HOW SHOULD HOMEWORK BE APPROACHED?
Homework should begin to be considered at an advanced age. This does not mean that under no circumstances should some type of activity be sent to younger children. However, students in the first years of primary school or early childhood education should have at home only very punctual and playful activities such as looking for different materials and objects to take to class and teach them to other children, color a drawing to expose in the classroom, etc. Always activities that they can do together with their parents in an entertaining way.
– In more advanced courses, homework should be adjusted to what has been explained in the classroom and adapted for each child:
There is no point in trying to advance in the subject using homework as a resource. Homework should always be a reinforcement of what is already exposed in the classroom in a clear way. The teacher must make sure that the concepts are already acquired and explain to the children and their parents, if necessary, what are the tasks that they must carry out.
In addition, each student in the classroom should have different duties depending on what they have already acquired in the classroom and on their speed or slowness when doing their homework. For this measure to be possible, the teacher must have enough time to plan these tasks and the students and parents must have the idea that this measure is not about favoring some and disadvantaging others, but rather the opposite. , match them being aware of the differences that necessarily exist between each student.
– Homework should never be considered as a punishment :
What we want is to use them as a means to strengthen knowledge and habits when studying.
– They do not have to be sent every day in a protocol way:
In addition, when assigning homework, the teacher should be aware of the time it can take for each child. If there are different teachers for different subjects, there should be some organization between them when sending homework.
The important thing is to always respect leisure and rest times, both for the child and for the family as a whole.
Dr. Tabriella Perivolaris, Sara's mother and fan of fashion, beauty, motherhood, among others, about the female universe. Since 2018 she has been working as a copywriter, always bringing to her articles a little of her experience and experience as a mother and woman.