You might think that open-minded people who review the evidence should be able to agree on whether homework really does help. Their assessments ranged from homework having positive effects, no effects, or complex effects to the suggestion that the research was too sparse or poorly conducted to allow trustworthy conclusions.
This, of course, is a defense of a certain kind of assignment — namely, the kind that involves practice. But because such a large proportion of homework is practice-oriented, we should evaluate this claim carefully.
People who do something a lot often get better at doing it. But once again we find ourselves with a proposition that turns out to be true in a far more limited sense, with more qualifications and caveats attached, than may have seemed to be the case. This verb is tossed around casually, as if it were sufficient to clinch the case.
But what exactly is meant here? The answer is behavioral responses. You learn to pull back and follow through with just the right movement so the ball lands where you want, and eventually you can do this without even thinking about it.
But to cite an example like that to justify homework is an example of what philosophers call begging the question. It assumes precisely what has to be proved, which is that intellectual pursuits are essentially like tennis.
The assumption that the two activities are analogous is an outgrowth of a doctrine known as behaviorism, widely associated with John B. Skinner, and their followers.
Thus, it makes perfect sense that most of the principles of learning that emerge from the work of behaviorists were developed on lab animals. For a behaviorist, these actions are different only in degree, and the same theory applies equally well to both.
Thus, to justify sending students home with a worksheet full of practice problems on the grounds that it reinforces skills is to say that what matters is not understanding but behavior.
Repetition does not lead to understandings. Rather, we human beings spend our entire lives constructing theories about how the world works, and then reconstructing them in light of new evidence. The point is for them to understand ideas from the inside out. Its relevance to math, however, is particularly intriguing — and somewhat unsettling in light of the fact that most of us still think in behaviorist terms.
Mathematics is the subject in which practice homework seems to be most commonly prescribed, so this is as good a place as any to understand the limits of the whole idea.
Students may memorize the fact that 0. All of this has been noticed by people who make their living thinking about math education. Several documents for reforming the field, including, most notably, the standards disseminated by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, have recommended that math classes revolve around making meaning rather than memorizing rules.
Students should be encouraged to write and talk about their ideas, to understand the underlying concepts and be able to put them into words. But even a classroom centered on understanding may not be enough. The best classrooms not only are characterized by more thinking than remembering; they also have students doing much of the thinking.
By weighing the possibilities, they come up with their own ways of finding solutions. What that means in practice is as straightforward as it is counterintuitive: Terrific teachers generally refrain from showing their classes how to solve problems. In fact, exactly the opposite is true.
They become less autonomous, more dependent. Lots of practice can help some students get better at remembering the correct response, but not to get better at — or even accustomed to — thinking. What can be done without thinking usually is done without thinking, and that may lock people into patterns and procedures that are less than ideal.
Sep 23, · The homework question is best answered by comparing students who are assigned homework with students assigned no homework but who are similar in other ways. The results of such studies suggest that homework can improve students' scores on the class tests that come at the end of a topic. Homework can foster independent learning. Homework teaches students the importance of planning, staying organized and taking action. School and homework show students the important life lessons, such as how to read and communicate with others, that they will use as an adult. However, teachers had to do homework when they were students, and they've likely been expected to give it at every school where they've worked. The idea that homework must be assigned is the premise, not the conclusion -- and it's a premise that's rarely examined by educators.
Practice often leads to habit — which is, by definition, a mindless repetition of behavior — but not to understanding.I always give the students time to present their family page in class.
The things they share can be quite insightful, touching and funny. I assign homework that can easily be modified depending on the students' level of understanding. I also have Family Game Night. Homework is an important time to make connections and reflect; on self.
Thus, "homework can be employed to increase the effectiveness of direct instruction sequences with students diagnosed as [learning disabled]" (). Researchers have also focused their attention on the effects of homework among various ethnic or .
importance of meaningful and appropriate assignments. Student achievement rises significantly when teachers regularly assign homework and students conscientiously do it, and the academic benefits increase as children move into the upper grades.
Homework can help children develop good habits and attitudes. For students in Grades 6 and 7, up to an hour of meaningful homework per night can be beneficial.
More than that can be detrimental.
Grades 8 to Things change in high school. Most studies involving high school students suggest that students who do homework achieve at a higher rate. Homework continues to be a controversial topic. The debate over homework is an old one, with attitudes shifting throughout the debate over the years.
Proponents and opponents make cases to support their views on the necessity and importance of homework in the development of . Homework is an important time to make connections and reflect; on self, family, friends, new or familiar information, and the world beyond.
What you present to your students will determine the heights they will climb to continue to maintain their academic success.