Homework should be abolished
Side Score: 25
Side Score: 44
I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, if a child is in school six or seven hours a day, then it seems unfair to extend that into what should be their free time. There is also the argument that after a long school day it can sometimes be difficult to focus attention on menial academic tasks. However, it could also potentially be argued that homework nurtures and develops independent study skills, which are vital to higher education. In fact, I suspect that homework is where certain (i.e. more socially awkward) children thrive, who perhaps are less prepared to get involved in group learning.
Obviously there is no one-size-fits-all way to do this, and I think you are acknowledging that reality.
On the one hand, if a child is in school six or seven hours a day, then it seems unfair to extend that into what should be their free time.
Consider that 7 hours a day for 190 days a year comes to 1330 hours. Let's assume kids are awake for 14 hours a day, equaling 5110 hours. This makes school only 26% of their waking lives. That SHOULD mean that schools are responsible for helping the kids learn only 26% of what they need to know to be successful in life.
The other 74% of what they learn should come from parents, friends, relatives, neighbors, religious leaders, bosses at work, etc..
That is not society's expectation, though, is it? When kids do not learn enough of what they need, the schools are blamed, not the parents, grandparents, churches, or neighbors, despite the fact that they are the ones who are failing most of the kids.
As a result, schools have increasingly picked up the slack, and homework is much of how they fill in the for the missing parts of the 74%. For most kids, the majority of their education (formal and informal) is provided by school teachers, and the homework they assign.
This is why finishing high school (whether with diploma or GED) is one of the main predicting factors of lifelong income.
When I have been a student (total of over 27 years) I had homework, and when I did it, I learned more.
When I was a teacher, I assigned homework. According to the tests I gave my students, the ones who did the homework learned more (or at least more of what I was teaching.)
There are three main reasons homework is a highly useful part of the educational program.
- 1 - Homework is a way to develop and hone skills.
Most of what comprises education is skills:
Applying the scientific method
To develop skills, people need to practice. In class, there is often guided practice, so that students can get additional guidance in the skill, but there is too little class time to effectively develop the skills. Homework is the independent practice required to master skills.
- 2 - Homework is an opportunity to acquire knowledge.
Some of what students are supposed to obtain at school (in addition to skills) is knowledge. There is a whole lot more information in the curriculum than is transmittable in 190 hours (one school year of a one-hour class.) This means that students need to spend time outside of class learning some of the information, usually by reading from the textbook.
Sometimes the knowledge is also used to develop skills. In English classes, for example, students have to read a book so they can discuss it in class. The analysis and discussion skills are the focus, and it helps for the whole class to have the same basis of info to discuss. There is not enough time to read the whole book in class, so students need to read it outside of class, as homework. Then the class time can be devoted to learning and practicing thinking and discussion skills.
- 3 - Homework is a way to teach and instill independence.
Hidden in the development of skills and acquisition of knowledge is another set of skills that add up to the ability to learn independently. The highest goal of school is to teach students how to become independent learners and critical thinkers so they can live the rest of their lives learning what they need or want to know without having to depend on institutions or other people.
When I was a teacher, I told my students that the whole point of my job was to become obsolete.
Of course, how useful or necessary the homework is depends largely on what the curriculum is, and whether it matches the needs of the individual student.
As a student, I can't deny that I hate homework and complain about it a lot. However, it is beneficial to the learning process. It means that you have time to actually learn/revise what you were told in class. Without homework, I probably wouldn't be able to say I've done any revision to be honest.