Ever since we were or still are at school most of us, I’m sure, have always dreaded being given out homework at the end of the lesson and have have disliked doing work in our spare time. However, it is clear that the concept is not going away, and I discovered reasons as to why homework is here to stay, as well as some gripes with the current state of homework.
Why is homework considered necessary?
Here are some reasons as to why homework is considered a good thing:
One point of homework is that it acts as a showcase to display what the student has learned about the topic as well as the student’s skills they have developed at their time at school. It is seen to be a good way to find out if the knowledge taught at school is really sinking in.
Homework also provides the opportunity for teachers to make the students learn more on the subject at hand that they could not during the school day, perhaps due to lack of time or incompetence. This is however a double edged sword as it can expand the students knowledge of that topic but it could also lead to that student becoming more bored of that topic if too much is given.
Are there any criticisms of giving out homework?
So far it can be seen that homework is very useful for the pupil for several reasons, however, there are some who have in fact criticised the concept and how it is handed out.
One of these criticisms, is that sometimes the same homework is given to every student, not taking into account each pupils strengths and weaknesses. This means that some students will feel that they are overwhelmed with work while others feel they are under challenged. This may lead to frustration amongst students finding it too difficult, who then may feel more isolated from that subject or even school as a whole, undermining the education system as a whole.
Another criticism for handing out homework is the fact that sometimes it can be very harmful for the wellbeing of the student. For instance, completing homework may take up a large part of the student’s free time, especially if there is a lot of it. It is often the case that children try to finish their homework until late at night, which can lead to sleep disorders and unhealthy stress. Children may also feel overwhelmed when they have too much homework, which can negatively affect children’s natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge, undermining what homework is about in the first place.
How homework was used in the past
As a little extra I thought I would share something that I thought was very interesting when conducting research on this topic.
Throughout the first half of the twentieth century homework was pretty much out of favour in the United States. However, in the 1950s, with increasing pressure to stay ahead in the Cold War, homework made a resurgence, and children were encouraged to keep up with their Russian counterparts. From that time on, social attitudes have oscillated approximately on a 15-year cycle, for instance, homework was encouraged in the 1950s to mid-1960s; it was rejected from the mid-1960s until 1980; it was encouraged again from 1980 and the publication of A Nation at Risk until the mid-1990s, when the Cold War ended. At that time, American schools were overwhelmingly in favour of issuing some homework to students of all grade levels.