In various schools around the world, people are considering the merits of no longer assigning homework. Because both children and parents are feeling more stressed than before when answering assignments at home, this move to ban homework is growing even more.
But many educators know that homework is a helpful part of learning. It allows students to recall lessons and even prepares them for the following day’s topics. In their minds, perhaps the problem is not to ban homework but to make it more helpful.
The following are some ways to make homework more effective.
- Ensure the assignment can be done without parents’ help
One purpose of homework is to promote independent learning. Students should be able to answer it on their own, not seek the help of adults. However, what’s happening now is that many teachers include assignment questions that are much too advanced for children. They may even be too advanced for parents. Thus, children are relying too much on their parents for help, which is stressing everyone in the family.
- Alternate the subjects that have homework
Many schools claim they follow limits about homework. For example, for Grade 1 students, they may say that homework should not take more than 10 minutes to finish per subject. The problem, however, is that tasks are given in nearly every subject, making life difficult for children at home.
To counter this, teachers ought to consider only allowing certain subjects to have homework every day. Not only will it be easier for students to finish it on time, but their minds will be focused on a few subjects rather than everything. For higher levels, where there may be a different teacher per subject, there must be more coordination between them so that there are not too many overlapping assignments.
- Assign homework that tests higher-order skills
Another issue about homework now is that it is not very helpful. Many teachers give assignments that aim to repeat what was given in class, making it more about memorization and repetition.
For homework to be more effective, it should develop higher-order skills such as analysis and evaluation. It helps as well to have assignments that require creativity once in a while. Not only are these more helpful to students as they become more competent as students, but it can also be more interesting for them rather than just repeating what was done in school.
- Aim for interdisciplinary homework for broader learning
One other way to make homework effective is to aim for interdisciplinary learning. This means the homework of one subject is connected to other subjects. So in math, the given problems may be related to science. While doing English, the essay questions involved may pertain to history or world events. In this way, students cover a lot more topics, allowing them to learn even more.
It seems that the problem with homework is not that it is useless, but that what is currently assigned is quite ineffective. Teachers should consider the tips above to revise what they are giving so that parents and students will not complain so much about homework.