Still reading? Ban homework.
Do an honest assessment?
- Are your homework assignments leftover classroom work?
- Are your homework assignments worksheets or textbook questions?
- Are your homework assignments designed to give them more grades?
- Are your homework assignments designed to justify yourself to administration?
- Are your homework assignments designed for parental involvement?
If you answer yes to any of them then you should stop assigning homework. Not one of those reasons is a good reason for homework.
You might as well assign it saying, “I had to do homework when I was young and so will you!”
I gave a ton of homework, especially to my AP World History students. But if I ever go back to teaching, even if I teach AP, I will not give homework.
I know that educators say homework reinforces skills learned, help students master the content, etc. But the students are robots completing their homework assignments. They don’t learn anything, the skills are often confused, and then teachers have more work to do.
When I was in school I often completed my homework in homeroom while talking to my friends or in study hall while talking to friends. No additional learning was happening. I was just completing a graded assignment. It didn’t prepare me for the upcoming lessons, exam, and it certainly didn’t make me feel smart. Most of the time, especially with math homework, I felt dumber.
The biggest thing homework does is give students a grade and the teacher more work. Homework is a scapegoat for most educators. If a student fails, the amount of chances a student had to bring up the grade will be important if the teacher has to defend themselves. On the other hand, if students fail because of the homework, is that really a fair gauge of understanding?
Rather than wasting time with meaningless work, we need to really assess what learning is all about. If we need more time in the classroom for authentic learning, then we need to have that conversation. If we need fewer credits so we can focus more fully on the core classes, then we need to have that conversation. But assigning more homework is only giving more work.
Teachers are overworked. Teachers don’t have enough time to grade and give real, meaningful feedback. (Be honest, was the homework meaningful? Because I bet it wasn’t.) Teachers can thank their teachers for assigning homeworking and creating more work for them today.
If your teachers didn’t give you homework, then you wouldn’t have become accustomed to working after school which made it more likely that you were willing to do extra work after work. Now as a teacher you know nothing more than going home and doing work. You have never NOT had homework.
The more homework you give now, the more work you have later because these kids are going to grow up and expect you to work after school.
Now imagine if you just didn’t assign homework.
Close your eyes and image what you would do with your time.
The clock says your contract day is over. You grab your keys and head for your car. No bag of homework. No files or binders. All you have to do is turn your lights off, lock your door, and leave.
What will you do with your time? You have hours to spend.
Now think about what you are losing. Is it that much? Be honest. Are you really losing much if your students don’t do homework? Are your homework assignments worth anything?
As for the concept of ten minutes per grade? Never. Two hours of homework a night for a 17-18-year-old? I DON’T WANT TWO HOURS OF WORK AFTER WORK! My husband is a lawyer and he doesn’t do two hours of work after work.
Let it be real and rare.