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What is the value of homework?


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I do believe that teachers must change, if not preceeding history, at least adapting to its development. Our students' present reality (depending obviously on the areas we belong to) is busier than before, because of several activities in the afternoon. We cannot ignore it. Therefore there no use in "obliging them" as far as motivation is concerned, as regards the time you waste in checking all of them, in the limited use deriving from duties performed not for personal need (it should be stimulated during the lessons) but as a compulsory task.

Training is not only underlining relevant technical aspects, it depends also and mainly on a personal attitude towards the activity, from which the time they are ready to spend on it derives spontaneously; moreover we can't deny that, in spite of all our efforts, students don't develop their skills at the same time and in the same way. Therefore specific, regular, daily exercises are boring for some of them and actually difficult for some others. Most of our work is to be done during the lessons as much as possible stimulating all of them in a different, appropriate way. Teachers of the English language should have less difficulty in motivating them as they can exploit all the sources (ads, slogans, films etc.) to attract their attention without using only the traditional, although relevant, means.

We can have better results if they love English, no result will come if they fear it. A careful, up-to-date selection of texts, activities, procedures and strategies might conquer them: when and if that happens, they are ready to learn without studying, just working with you, difficult structures and use them in practice.

Edited by Vittoria Di Fabio
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It seems we think you should work within time limits and some compensation should be adjusted.If we spend ten hours doing homework,then we should get ten hours pay,just like adults do.

First, some students will spend 10 hours doing something,some students will spend 10 minutes and accomplish the same thing.

Second, if you hired someone who took ten hours to do l0 minutes work,you would seriously think about replacing him or her.

Lastly,let us hope students get the message,one in Chinese proverbs--

The slow worm must get up early.

I could never gauge who was getting the most out of homework,I do know some of my students were getting alot out of it since they enjoyed the subject matter and wanted to learn more. As a failed botanist,geologist,and musicians I found myself lacking ambition to excel in these topics. I felt as if I were taking my head and placing it on the pavement at a rapid pace.

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I teach in Portugal, and here we have a peculiar situation. Most parents think that homework should be mandatory at least every week and in all the matters teached! Why? They say it's the only way to make their children study! I don't know whether Portuguese students are particularly lazy and not interested, for instance, in History or Literature. I do know, mandatory homework is not the solution to make them better students.

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I teach in Portugal, and here we have a peculiar situation. Most parents think that homework should be mandatory at least every week and in all the matters teached! Why? They say it's the only way to make their children study! I don't know whether Portuguese students are particularly lazy and not interested, for instance, in History or Literature. I do know, mandatory homework is not the solution to make them better students.

I agree with the objections to homework made by people such as Andy Walker and Jane Shepherd in this thread.

However, I am aware that most of the best work I have seen as a teacher has been produced outside of the classroom. This is partly due to the kind of open-ended task that can be set for homework. This is especially true of the high ability student who often finds this kind of task very stimulating. It also enables students in classes with an anti-school culture to work without peer group pressure being applied.

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[However, I am aware that most of the best work I have seen as a teacher has been produced outside of the classroom. This is partly due to the kind of open-ended task that can be set for homework. This is especially true of the high ability student who often finds this kind of task very stimulating. It also enables students in classes with an anti-school culture to work without peer group pressure being applied.]

I agree with John Simkin. From my experience, whenever the teachers make an effort to innovate and define stimulating tasks, the results are rather good. Both from high ability students and anti-school culture students. But I came to realise that the social evolution in Portugal and political inability to deal with education, have damaged younger generations. The devaluation of culture is a real problem here. Culture and education are not priorities in Portuguese society. And when governments go along with this...

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  • 3 weeks later...

The most impressive work I saw produced by students was done outside of the classroom.

However I felt that setting homework was yet another hastle on top of an already busy schedule. If I set homework on the correct homework day it was often set for the sake of setting it but if I tried to set it on another day because something really interesting had happened and I simply wanted them to watch the news or do some internet research their response was, in unison, we don't have science homework on Tuesdays. Grrrr!

If I then told them that there wouldn't be anything collected in so it wasn't really homework I saw them switch off. The homework diaries were put away. No-one watched the news, not even the interested ones because it wasn't proper homework:-(

I do have a huge amount of sympathy for students wanting their homework set on the correct night as I do recall having 5 homeworks set on one night and then nothing for weeks. However, having been a tutor for both a year 8 class and a year 10 and checked their diaries for them I have noticed the trend that the setting of homework seems to reduce as the students move up through the school. They actually say things like 'we don't do homework now we are in year 10, thats for year 7's'. Not very helpful for those of us trying to prepare tham for 'A' level!

Rowena

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Homework isn't always done at home.

Most school have the library open at lunch and after school so that students who don't have access at home are on a more equal footing. I know students who use public libraries still. And what a useful resources they are as well.

I enjoy lunchtime in the library especially if there are chess sets and similr games. Will teachers in 2020 speak fondly about the days when kids ran and played outside?

To be honest when I teach younger students I often set homework that requires a phone call to Grandma, conversation with a sibling etc. When I am being really mean I have written a note to a younger sibling to supervise an aspect of the homework. Usually it causes amusement. I have yet to have a complaint about "weird" homework, because it is always related to work at hand. I cannot abide homework that requires catching up or finishing work off. Usually students who are not motivated in class will not work "unsupervised" anyway.

I have just been reading a US website where teachers show their programs. Many homework sessions were p56 q 1-16 or similar. I guess that is what is called reinforcing class activities. I don't often teach from a text book, so this type of "homework" sounds more like busy work to me.

Pauline

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