Working On Homework

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Teens in Shanghai spend 14 hours a week on homework, while students in Finland spend only three.

And although there are some educational theorists who argue for reducing or abolishing homework, more homework seems to be helping students with test scores.

Homework is a long-standing education tradition that, until recently, has seldom been questioned.

The concept of homework has become so ingrained in U. culture that the word homework is part of the common vernacular, as exemplified by statements such as "Do your homework before taking a trip," "It's obvious they didn't do their homework before they presented their proposal," and "The marriage counselor gave us homework to do." Homework began generations ago, when schooling consisted primarily of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and rote learning dominated.

Teachers, overwhelmed by an already glutted curriculum and pressures related to standardized tests, assign homework in an attempt to develop students' skills and extend learning time.

At the same time, they are left frustrated when the students who most need more time to learn seem the least likely to complete homework.Learning consisted of drill, memorization, and recitation, which required preparation at home: At a time when students were required to say their lessons in class in order to demonstrate their academic prowess, they had little alternative but to say those lessons over and over at home the night before.Before a child could continue his or her schooling through grammar school, a family had to decide that chores and other family obligations would not interfere unduly with the predictable nightly homework hours that would go into preparing the next day's lessons. 174) The critical role that children played as workers in the household meant that many families could not afford to have their children continue schooling, given the requisite two to three hours of homework each night (Kralovec & Buell, 2000).On average, teachers assign 15-year-olds around world about five hours of homework each week.But those average hours don’t necessarily tell the whole story.By the 5th grade, many students left school for work; fewer continued to high school (Kralovec & Buell, 2000).In the lower grades, school focused on reading, writing, and arithmetic; in grammar school (grades 5 through 8) and high school, students studied geography, history, literature, and math.Teachers are afraid not to give homework for fear of being perceived as "easy." Despite there being more diversity among learners in our schools than ever, many teachers continue to assign the same homework to all students in the class and continue to disproportionately fail students from lower-income households for not doing homework, in essence punishing them for lack of an adequate environment in which to do homework.At a time when demand for accountability has reached a new high, research fails to prove that homework is worth all that trouble.There's a growing suspicion that something is wrong with homework.This more critical view represents a movement away from the pro-homework attitudes that have been consistent for decades (Kralovec & Buell, 2000).

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