A recent tweet from comedian Rob Delaney reignited the age old debate: is homework really needed or should it be ditched?
If you have been on Twitter in past few days you will have noticed hundreds no doubt thousands of tweets about homework. How much homework is too much? What impact does it have? And should it be got rid of all together?
Rob Delaney thinks it should be scrapped. He tweeted a few days ago: “Why do they give 7 year-olds so much homework in the UK and how do I stop this? I want my kid frolicking, drawing, and playing football. Who knows more about stopping this madness and can anyone help me?”
Rob’s tweet went viral even football legend Gary Lineker joined in. More celebrities followed and one disgruntled Piers Morgan who deeply opposed the idea of not setting children homework.
The homework debate can be often split into primary and secondary school. Educational researcher Professor John Hattie, found that homework in primary schools has a negligible effect having little impact on a student’s overall learning. However he argues that homework does have a big effect in secondary school.
Professor John Hattie explains that secondary school homework often reinforces skills learned in the classroom that day, whereas primary school homework tend to be separate assignments. “The worst thing you can do with homework is give kids projects; the best thing you can do is reinforce something you’ve already learned,” he told the BBC in 2014. Homework can be effective when it’s the right type of homework.
John Hattie recommends setting work that’s relevant. This includes elaborating on information addressed in the class or opportunities for students to explore the key concept in areas of their own interest. Make sure students can complete the homework. Pitch it to a student’s age and skills – anxiety will only limit their cognitive abilities in that topic. A high chance of success will increase the reward stimulation in the brain. Get parents involved, without the homework being a point of conflict with students. Make it a sharing of information, rather than a battle. Check the homework with the students afterwards. This offers a chance to review the key concepts and allow the working memory to become part of the long-term memory.
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