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Homework

What is the Value of Homework

– Jessica Haley

Assigning homework serves various educational needs. It serves as an intellectual discipline, establishes study habits, eases time constraints on the amount of curricular material that can be covered in class, and supplements and reinforces work done in school.

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Assigning homework serves various educational needs. It serves as an intellectual discipline, establishes study habits, eases time constraints on the amount of curricular material that can be covered in class, and supplements and reinforces work done in school. In addition, it fosters student initiative, independence, and responsibility and brings home and school closer together.

Homework is the time students spend outside the classroom in assigned activities to practice, reinforce or apply newly-acquired skills and knowledge and to learn necessary skills of independent study. Practice assignments reinforce newly acquired skills.(Doyle, M. and B. Barber ). For example, students who have just learned a new method of solving a mathematical problem should be given sample problems to complete on their own. Preparation assignments help students get ready for activities that will occur in the classroom. Students may, for example, be required to do background research on a topic to be discussed later in class. Extension assignments are frequently long-term continuing projects that parallel classwork. Students must apply previous learning to complete these assignments, which include science fair projects and term papers.

Like mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage, homework seems to be a fact of life. Families play a vital role in educating children. What families do is more important to student success than whether they are rich or poor, whether parents have finished high school or not, or whether children are in elementary, junior high, or high school. Every school will promote partnerships that will increase parental involvement and participation in promoting the social, emotional, and academic growth of children.

But the value of homework extends beyond school. We know that good assignments, completed successfully, can help children develop wholesome habits and attitudes. Homework can help parents learn about their children's education and communicate both with their children and the schools. And it can encourage a lifelong love of learning.

Research in the last decade has begun to focus on the relationship between homework and student achievement and has greatly strengthened the case for homework. Although there are mixed findings about whether homework actually increases students' academic achievement, many teachers and parents agree that homework develops students' initiative and responsibility and fulfills the expectations of students, parents, and the public. Studies generally have found homework assignments to be most helpful if they are carefully planned by the teachers and have direct meaning to students.

In addition to helping with homework, there are many other important ways that parents can help their children learn. Parents can encourage children to spend more leisure time reading than watching television. They can talk with their children and communicate positive behaviors, values, and character traits. They can keep in touch with the school. And they can express high expectations for children and encourage their efforts to achieve.

Homework is an opportunity for students to learn and for parents to be involved in their children's education. A parent's interest can spark enthusiasm in a child and help teach the most important lesson of all--that learning can be fun and is well worth the effort.
Teachers assign homework for many reasons. Homework can help children review and practice what they've learned; • get ready for the next day's class; learn to use resources, such as libraries, reference materials, and encyclopedias; and • explore subjects more fully than time permits in the classroom. Homework can also help children develop good habits and attitudes.

It can teach children to work independently; encourage self-discipline and responsibility (assignments provide some youngsters with their first chance to manage time and meet deadlines); and encourage a love of learning.

Homework can also bring parents and educators closer together. Parents who supervise homework and work with their children on assignments learn about their children's education and about the school.

Homework is meant to be a positive experience and to encourage children to learn. Assignments should not be used as punishment.
Teachers assign homework for many different reasons, and students may not always endorse - or even understand - their teachers' goals. However, the fact that students don't always understand or agree with us doesn't give us the luxury of ignoring their views. Several factors argue against dismissing their complaints.

For one thing, all of us act based on our own perceptions of the world, not on the perceptions of others. Adults often refuse to follow the advice of doctors to lose weight if they are not convinced losing weight is as important as the doctor thinks it is. Simply telling students they have to do homework because it's important is never going to be effective if we can't convincingly counter their complaints that it's not.

For another, the reasons teachers give for assigning homework often match up badly with the specific assignments they make, another case of "talking the talk" without "walking the walk." For example, assigning homework to increase student mastery of the subject isn't going to work if the assignments are simply repetitions of skills a student has already mastered. Moreover, reasons that go beyond academic achievement, such as teaching students to work without supervision, are suspect in any event. In an exhaustive review of research on homework, Harris Cooper found that "no study has examined whether noninstructional purposes (e.g., creating parent awareness, punishment) have their intended effects" and concludes that "most problematic [in the research on homework] is the number Of homework outcomes that remain unresearched . Implied questions about policy are important ones: Who decides what kind of out-of-school student habits and child-parent interaction should be promoted? And why should the school be doing such promotion? And how do we know that homework is a good tool for noninstructional goals, anyway?

What is the Value of Homework - Page 2

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