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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Homework methodology and synthesis

Homework:do students love it or hate it?
It's a normal thing to think that students will someday protest doing homework. Imagine you are a student an after 8hours of serious interval classes,different teachers teaching different topics with different orientation and your physics teacher tells you to research an write down and even memorise all the laws of physics(with their applications)  and you will have to submit it in two days....damn shit! And they haven’t all been about “homework is evil and we should ban it all the way across the board.” This is as a result of laziness on the part of the students which has serious effect in the general academic well-being of the child.
Homework is a contentious topic. Everyone seems to have opinions about it and can’t seem to see why anyone would believe otherwise.We don’t talk about it at all and continue doing whatever we want to do, or we argue about it without defining what we mean by homework in the first place.
Often, the conversation comes back to the same central questions. And those questions don’t have clear-cut answers.
What is homework?

The key question isn’t, “Do we assign homework?,” but rather, “What is homework?”

How do we define it? What is homework, and what isn’t?
So, homework consists of any assigned task slated to be done outside the hours of class. What the word homework does not describe is the quality or quantity of the task, a reality that makes homework discussions challenging because it turns into a war of vocabulary.For example, if two people discuss their children’s homework, one could be railing against mindless worksheets while the other is in favour of carefully crafted activities prompting students to reflect or create. But instead of naming the specific activity, they both refer to the tasks simply as “homework.”And so one parent wonders why on earth anyone would be a proponent of (mindless) homework while the other can’t understand why a parent wouldn’t want their child to do (relevant and creative) work at home. Neither parent understands the other’s point of view because they aren’t speaking the same language about homework.
So … what’s the definition of homework? As we go through this self-reflective process in this post, that’s for you to decide. Some questions to consider: When is it done? What kinds of activities does it include? Who is making the decisions regarding it? Is it done for academic credit (i.e. points in the grade book)? If we can’t define it, we can’t successfully discuss it.
Hundreds and hundreds of studies have been done for the last century regarding homework. Some favour homework for positive academic achievement results. Others find that no homework produces the best results. The biggest analysis of homework research states in its abstract, “The authors found that all studies, regardless of type, had design flaws.”Schools and many teachers seem to hold research data up as gospel. You have to be careful about how much you count on it, though. Research is often a report on an experiment someone did and how they interpreted the results. Not all results can be applied uniformly to every school, every classroom, every student. There was generally consistent evidence for a positive influence of homework on achievement. But there are lots of questions that  this doesn’t answer. What are the other effects homework has beyond achievement? Are kids more than the average of their test scores? Is homework preparing them for the real future they’ll face? Does homework prepare students for the next level? There’s this line of thinking related to homework that goes like this …
“There are some things about homework that I really don’t like — and that the students don’t like. But I want to make sure that they’re prepared for middle school / high school / college. If I don’t assign them homework, when they get to that level and they have homework, they won’t be prepared. I’d better make sure I’m assigning homework so they’re ready for the next level.”
The heart of this line of thinking is this the formation of habit. Is what I’m doing forming habits that will help students succeed at the next level? I’ve read a few books about the power of habit. I’m no expert. But I do know those books say that habit is something that can be created and changed and that it doesn’t take years to create a new habit. When students fail to keep up with the work load at the next level, I don’t think it’s because they haven’t developed the habit. It’s that their expectations don’t match up to reality.

The question — “Is what I’m doing forming habits that will help students succeed at the next level?” — isn’t as important as this. Assigning more homework to prepare students for the next level takes the focus off the most important task of the day — helping the students in your class to learn on that day.There’s also the bigger-picture question of, “Are the practices of the next level — the ones I’m preparing kids for — really in the best interests of student learning in the first place?” Of course, that’s a systemic, education-as-a-whole question that can’t be tackled in the classroom alone. Preparing students for the next level is important, but we have to decide if our actions to prepare them are really having the intended results. Does homework teach students responsibility?
This one often goes hand in hand with the previous question. We want students to be responsible. To grow up to be responsible adults. How can school prepare them for that?
We often turn to homework for that. They need to be responsible for taking this book home, answering these questions, and bringing that paper back to class tomorrow.
Does homework actually teach students responsibility? Maybe … sort of.
The problem: Homework is inauthentic responsibility. Homework often is an artificial activity with a teacher-created deadline for an audience of one. It’s hard for me to believe that this kind of work will create truly responsible citizens. Lots of things in life promote responsibility. Caring for your family. Managing your money. Having a pet. Participating in a team. Other things in school promote responsibility. Distributing class materials. Feeding the fish. Organizing a club. Promoting an event. Responsibility is crucial, and schools can help students develop it. But for it to stick, I believe it has to be authentic and students have to buy in to the benefits and the process.
How do parents play into the homework discussion? If we want to make important changes in our classrooms, parents are a key factor.

Will they get behind that change? What if they object — and object loudly? Do they have misconceptions?

Often, parents can be steeped in tradition. They remember how school — or, more specifically, homework — was done to them. It’s easy to look back on school with rose-coloured glasses and talk about things like determination and resolve. If we don’t share a common goal or vision of how their children should be educated, both our efforts will be against each other instead of supporting each other. Parents should be involved in this activity by:
Helping them see a vision,Share your heart with them,Cite research that supports your decision,Point to your own experiences,Give them plenty of opportunity to talk so that they get involved as well. This is how homework should be tackled so it doesn't turn out a boredom. Stay tuned for more articles by me.

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