Monday, July 30, 2012

Journal #6: "Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework ( and Five Alternatives)

Spencer, J. T. (2011, September 19). Ten reasons to get rid of homework (and five alternatives. Retrieved from 

Spencer's article articulates the growing sentiment that kids should not need to worry about doing homework when they get home. He points out that kids often have a lot of things to do when they get home, such as after school sports, dance lessons, debate team, or any number of activities that take up afternoons. Personally, I had days where I would have both soccer and basketball practice and wouldn't be home until after seven, in no mood to break open the math book. Spencer also presents the point that homework is unfair to kids who do not have have a stable home life. If you are a kid who needs to watch your brothers and sisters after school, because mom or dad is working late, it would be much harder for you to concentrate on your homework. 

Of course the counter point is that kids need to practice on their own what they learn at school. As a potential history teacher, I would like my students to have some background knowledge of the material before they come into class so we could have a discussion about it. My dad who is both a math teacher and tutor believes that the only way the students can truly master the material is to practice on their own.   

So what is the answer. Here are a couple alternatives to homework and also a few reasons why homework is needed.

1. Long term assignments. Instead of nightly homework, this would be more long term and therefore kids could better manage their time. Plus kids would have plenty of class time to complete the assignmnet, meaning that they would not necesarily need to do anything at home. 

2. Group assignments. Yes, kids will probably have to do some work at home, but it would be in a social setting, and kids would still be interacting with each other. 

But wait:
1. Students do need practice. Yes there are six hours in a school day, but each class is only around fifty minutes. Therefore if the lesson is 30-40 minutes, students will probably need a bit more time to practice what they learned.

2. Its really hard to write a good paper in class. Those should probably need to be done at home. 

3. Technology: if we are to truly adapt technology into classrooms, students will probably need to do this at home or in the computer lab. Until we get to the point where we have computers in every classroom, this will need to be done at home.

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