Late last month, a UK secondary school abolished ‘traditional’ homework in favour of allowing their students to select ‘appropriate’ tasks listed on the school’s website; with each homework task completed, pupils are eligible to receive a prize. The new scheme aims to make the children feel more responsible for their extended learning and allows teachers and parents more control over their own time. So, is ditching the ‘traditional’ method of homework going to help or hinder our students – and is there any point to homework anyway?!
Typically students have always thought of homework as burdensome but, as all of our lives get increasingly busier, can parents and schools support extended learning as they once did? There seems to be a shift in how homework is being perceived by many people. A teacher in the States was recently quoted as saying: ‘I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your children to bed early.’
However, from looking through past data, we can see that doing homework does improve how well students do – but this doesn’t mean that increasing the amount of homework will deliver better results. Unsurprisingly, each student’s saturation point is different and frequently the most able students are given more to do, when in actual fact they probably need the least homework!
A few years ago the norm was 2.5 hours of homework per night for secondary school students (14 to 16 year olds) and 1 hour a week for primary school students aged 7 upwards, but this has now been scrapped to allow schools to set their own guidelines.
What do you think, how much homework should students be set (if any) and how do you think it can be implemented most beneficially?