Sunday, May 6, 2012

Why I hate assigning homework.

Here are a list of reasons why I hate homework:

It wastes class time. Students are not motivated to review homework, especially if it's mindless practice. Most don't pay attention, especially if they didn't actually do it. This time could be spent actually learning something.

I don't have the time to really check it.

While a few actually do it, most either copy from someone else or don't do it at all. Students who copy get a bonus to their grade (for not actually learning anything) and students who don't do it see their grades plummet and ask, "why even bother trying?" I'm also forced to give students disapproving looks when they don't complete it - yech!

I've read that there is very little research to show that homework improves achievement in the middle grades. I can understand this, especially if it is given to students who don't fully understand what it is that they're supposed to be practicing.

What if the student tries, but doesn't really understand what he or she is doing? Isn't that student just practicing something wrong?

I think homework could be useful if there is some intrinsic motivation to get it done. This means that the problems need to be interesting. The only time homework works without intrinsic motivation is when the student understands the concepts well and the parents are diligent about making sure that it gets done. But how many students fit in that category?

Nathan Kraft

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