Homework, in a layman’s term, is the task assigned by teachers to their students that needs to be completed outside the class. It may comprise of an oral, written, project or activity based work that needs to be completed in a stipulated time.
In today’s fast paced world, the concept of Homework is slowly and gradually becoming a heated topic of discussion. Many consider it positive and at the same time, many don’t encourage the concept of Homework.
I was fortunate enough to lend almost ten valuable years of my life in service of education. It includes two years in the administrative capacity of Principal of a school. In addition, I was lucky enough to be able to write eight books related to the field of education.
During my service period, I had the opportunity to peep inside the minds of parents, teachers as well as students multiple times. There have been many discussions with parents and teachers regarding their views and concepts on the topic “Homework” every now and then. What I found out was very interesting.
There are handful parents as well as teachers who hold very contradictory views. There were parents who wanted so much of homework for their children that they are fully occupied for the rest of the day.
They want regular homework for even the additional subjects like G.K. and Moral Science. On the contrary, there are few parents who do not want any homework for their child as they want their child to enroll and excel in other co-curricular activities. Same goes for teachers too.
There are certain teachers who are just rushing with the syllabus and for that they use homework as a handy tool; while on the other hand, there are teachers who don’t believe in the concept of daily homework.
It is difficult to stamp what is right and what is wrong but my personal opinion is that one must follow a middle path. Excessive homework creates unnecessary pressure on parents and child’s psychology; however on some instances and some subjects, certain degree of follow-up is important for better outcomes.
The Changing Phases
The concept of Homework in schooling has gone through many phases. At the very beginning of formal schooling, it was considered a favorable tool to enhance the teaching-learning process. However, as the time progressed, slowly and gradually it was started to be viewed in an unfavorable light.
The educators and parents started believing that homework is crowding out the social experience, outdoor recreation and creative activities of not just the child but family as a whole. With the advent of LPG (Liberalization, Privatization and Globalization) in 1990s the emphasis on Homework was back again.
The parents wanted their students to compete with the students of whole world and for that they did not want any stone left unturned.
How much Homework is enough?
There have been many researches that were conducted to find out the amount of homework to be given to the child. Experts concluded that the amount of homework should depend on the age and skills of the student. The younger the child, the shorter will be the attention span.
Many Parent-Teacher Associations suggested that homework for kindergarten till second grade must not exceed 10-20 minutes each day. From third to sixth grade, children can benefit from 30-60 minutes of homework per day. Reading at home is especially important for young children.
Therefore, reading assignments should be the focus areas of homework for smaller classes. Sometimes the assignments, especially holiday homework are such that they are beyond the capacity of small children and parents have to complete it. Such a tendency needs to be curtailed; rather it should be such where positive involvement of both can be a possibility.
In the higher classes, homework becomes increasingly important as there is evidence that the amount of homework relates directly to the grades. Homework and assignments at a higher level typically have one or more purposes such as Practice, Preparation, Extension, Integration, etc. In particular, math homework has been shown to be more important in the middle to high school grades.
Parents and Homework
The involvement of parents with the homework is a double edged weapon. On one hand, it can help the students develop a better understanding of the topic, while on the other hand the difference in teaching technique may rather further confuse the student.
Therefore, especially in the latter stages, parents should be passively involved with the homework and pitch in only where there is a requirement. It will make the children more independent, increase their decision-making ability and also boost their confidence.[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] “If you expect your child to be well-educated, you have the responsibility of making sure your child gets educated, starting at home, with some basic fundamentals.” —President George W. Bush [/perfectpullquote]
There are few things that parents can do to make Homework fun and easy:
- Cover the topic practically in different possible ways over a period of time;
- Break the monotony by letting the child switching between different subjects;
- Don’t try to cover everything in one go, if there is no urgency;
- Help the child to get organized with study material and other aids;
- Don’t undermine the importance of Homework in front of the child even if you do not support it;
- Be there as a support but do not spoon-feed;
- Don’t hesitate to approach the teacher in case of any confusion.
Teachers and Homework
It is not just the parents but teachers also, who have to face many difficulties with student’s homework. They also need to prepare a road map for the successful completion of homework. Some points that they can keep in mind are as follows:
- Monthly planners and weekly study schedules should be prepared well in advance and should be followed too.
- Make the list of assignments in advance and learning objectives must be stated.
- Assignments should be well organized and should do justice to the time allotted as well as mental age of the students.
- Share CBT (Computer Based Tutorials) and other resources with parents to make them aware of the topic and learning outcomes.
- Homework must preferably be given in an interesting way such as in the form of attractive worksheets. If possible, the weekends may be chosen for the same.
- The homework may have the flexibility of completing the work in whole week.
- Parents should be brought into picture from time to time by frequent interaction. For this purpose, class-wise WhatsApp groups may be created where all subject teachers are on board.
A teacher, above all, has to have the presence of mind and quicker adaptability as well as understanding, in order to bring out best from the child.
In the end, I hope that this article is able to clarify at least some of the doubts that parents, teachers, family members and others who care for children generally face. Homework may be fun and it provides the best learning experience if exercised in moderation and constructive involvement of all is ensured.
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