Thursday, December 12, 2013

Should Teachers Assign Homework Over the Holidays?

Winter break is only days away.  At this point in the school, teachers sometimes wonder what type of homework or assignment they should give their students over the break so that they will keep their academic skills sharp.  Sounds like a good idea?  Maybe not:)

"The Tyranny of Homework..." offers 20 solid reasons to not send home packets of "worksheets" over the holidays. Of those listed, several justified why I have not given traditional homework over the holidays.

One major reason for my not giving it is that students need time to be with family.  Besides going to school 5 days a week, many students also work part time to support their families.  The fact that they even have time to do homework with such difficult schedules amazes me.  With school temporarily removed from their lives, they will be able to take part in fun family-building activities.  School can wait. 

Another reason which resonates with me is it doesn't raise test scores or improve a student's retention of material taught up to the break.  In fact, there seems to be little difference between countries who do assign homework (U.S. and U.K.) and those who don't (Finland, Japan).  Student need time off to socialize with friends.  After all, friends will be with them long after high school.  Building such solid relationships might be a major source of support in the future.

Want them to read?  Find their interests and offer them extra credit for reading.  I am going to try emailing my students over the break.  I will share what I am doing and ask in turn what they are doing.  They will be reading my emails which will be short, funny, and hopefully interesting:)  The other idea I am toying with is FACEBOOK for the class.  Many teachers at my site do it and kids like it.

There are many more reasons why assigning homework needs to be reconsidered.  See if you agree:)


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