The Homework Conundrum
Homework is always a subject that generates comment and discussion. Teachers are either told that they are not setting enough homework or too much. Then there are debates about whether homework serves any purpose at all and of course let’s not forget the perennial brainteaser “what is a meaningful homework”. For what it’s worth my opinion is that homework is an essential feature of the school curriculum.
For many children homework poses no problems and is often even enjoyed! These children probably benefit from having supportive (nagging!) parents or carers a quiet place to work and a fair amount of motivation. Even then some of them struggle with the time management and planning aspects that are often required. But what about the kids who have none of this support? They are the ones who often have the most entertaining excuses for not handing their homework in on time but these ‘tall tales’ sometimes mask a number of genuine problems they have faced trying to do the task they have been set.
In school they don’t always succeed but when they do it is often because:
- there are very clear expectations and structures to work with;
- they have been able to discuss work;
- they have worked collaboratively.
One aim of homework is, of course, to get kids to develop a bit more independence and self-discipline in their studies but I’m becoming more and more convinced that sadly that’s exactly where most of the ‘problems’ with homework start. A majority of our pupils have internet access at home. So here are a few ideas my faculty are trying out…