Monday, July 30, 2012

Journal #6: Ten reasons to get rid of homework

Spencer, J. (2011, September 19). Education rethink. Retrieved from  

Summary: Spencer's "Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework" talks about how homework does more harm than good to a child's educational experience. Spencer is a teacher who has not assigned homework for years; a teacher who believes in self-discovery and learning on one's own terms. In this article, he gives ten reasons to get rid of homework. For instance, he explains how children of all ages are busy and have lots on their minds; whether they have play-time or work, it can be very hard for them to fit in homework to their schedule. He also suggests that homework can demotivate students because it is an involuntary activity. Spencer goes on to describe how homework doesn’t raise achievement, causes bad working habits, etc.  Further into the article, Spencer suggests five alternatives to homework. He says that learning happens naturally when it is done on a child's terms, such as skateboarding. He also suggests that activities like charity work and photography can increase learning because they are done on a voluntary basis. 

Question 1: What are some downfalls of this "no homework" method? 

Answer: In my opinion, in order for a student to fully understand a concept, he or she needs to repeat an activity multiple times to get the hang of it. This activity should be spread throughout the day (not all done at once) for maximum understanding. Since students cannot focus on just one subject at school, they need to have time to reminisce on what they learned and practice any new skills they acquired. Because of these reasons, having no homework could actually backfire against a student. Furthermore, there are many children who run out of things to do during the day. When this happens, they often find alternate activities, such as video games or TV, to keep them busy. However, these activities often have no benefit on the child.
Question 2: Would I consider using the no-homework method in my class?

Answer: I like and agree with many aspects of the no homework method. However, there are some downfalls to this method (see above) that prevent me from wanting to adopt this method. Rather than no homework, I could see myself assigning more fun and meaningful work. For instance, I could have my students write an essay about a topic of their own choice. I could ask them to visit a museum. I could have them make a scientific model using household objects. In my opinion, there are endless alternatives to the typical pen-and-paper style of homework.  

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