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John Simkin

Is Homework a Good Idea?

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Patrick Hazlewood, head of St. John’s School in Marlborough, plans to scrap homework for Year 7. He claims that it is a “dinosaur” which is not relevant to learning today. Hazlewood said he wanted students to “manage their own learning” so that they learned to love learning for learning’s sake.

Homework was "repetitious" and "generates marking that is often just a load of ticks and causes conflict at home", he said.

In its place he has decided to test a programme devised by the Royal Society for the Arts, currently being piloted elsewhere, which rejects the notion that a teacher's job is to transmit a body of knowledge to pupils.

Dr Hazlewood said he wanted to make schooling more relevant to life in the 21st century. He wanted to "get away from the imposition of homework, a product of 20th-century education" and allow children to embrace their 21st-century "learning journey".

He said yesterday: "The national curriculum is very much like a dinosaur. It served a purpose at the time; it filled the notion of the job for life."

The school has already introduced a system by which pupils mark their peers' work, and has replaced subject teaching with "cross-curricular projects".

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The headmaster of a school in Lund in Sweden recently made headlines here by coming to the same conclusion. He's the uncle of my daughter's best friend in school, so she's got some reflected glory from it!

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Especially in foreign language learning, homework is important because

it helps the students to review and practise what they have learnt in school.

On the other hand, the subject of the homework should be chosen properly and

shouldn't be used as a punishment.

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