For most educators, completely cutting homework out of schools isn’t a viable alternative – at least not yet.
And many, if not most, teachers are unconvinced that gutting homework from their repertoire of learning tools is the best idea anyway.
Tammy Linder says that teachers haven’t had the amount of teaching time they usually need to enforce classroom lessons and concepts.
With the heavy focus on standardized testing already in schools, losing precious out-of-school homework time drastically diminishes how long teachers can devote to thoroughly covering a given subject, as well as the depth and amount of topics they can cover in a school year.
One option is changing the paradigm of assigned homework to infuse hands-on, student-led engagement with class lessons as a way of piquing student interest in the material.
And instead of simply limiting homework to the teacher/student/parent sphere, allowing students the opportunity to show off exceptional homework to a larger audience can give them a further incentive to put in their best effort.“But too much homework that takes over everyone’s lives should never happen.There should be agreed upon standard homework times per grade level.” Reinventing Homework Are there ways to deemphasize the overreliance on standard homework assignments and allow students to learn through other conducive means?“Our new motto for assignments is ‘review and preview.” That means that homework in the district now constitutes an ungraded review or preview of current course work that’s the students’ responsibility to independently complete.Spelling words, vocabulary practice, and study guides for testing all fall under this purview.Nightly practice of any concept keeps the brain engaged in the topic and helps the student focus.” Karen Spychala, a teacher in San Jose, believes homework has value, but is concerned about its potential to consume too much time outside the school day.“Homework has its place: to practice skills and most importantly to involve families in their child’s learning” Spychala explains.Teachers who do assign it need to have a very compelling reason for extending a student’s school day.“My general suggestion is to change the default: No homework should be the norm,” Kohn says, “Six hours of academics is enough—except on those occasions when teachers can show strong reason to infringe on family time and make these particular students do more of this particular schoolwork.” Still, homework is so ingrained in the fabric of schooling that studies revealing its minimal positive benefits have been largely shrugged off or ignored altogether.Angela Downing, an elementary school teacher in Newton, Massachusetts, has found great success in displaying excellent student homework on the walls inside and outside of her classroom.By doing so, homework becomes disassociated from the standard teacher-student relationship and gains a whole new level of importance that draws students into the assignment.