The Homework Myth


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A summary of Alfie Kohn's book "The Homework Myth" with some reflections and questions about its practicality. In general this power point summarizes the books. It is a highly recommended book.

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The Homework Myth

  1. 1. “ The Homework Myth” by Alfie Kohn A Review that summarizes and offers commentary
  2. 2. Context and Background <ul><li>Author is Alfie Kohn </li></ul><ul><li>Popular Author and Lecturer </li></ul><ul><li>Post on my website last May </li></ul><ul><li>Highly Recommended </li></ul>
  3. 3. Chapter 1: Missing out on their Childhoods <ul><li>Points out the relative newness of homework </li></ul><ul><li>Now commonly accepted </li></ul><ul><li>Creates problems in the home </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of time for children to be children. </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr picture from: </li></ul>
  4. 4. Missing Childhood <ul><li>  burden on parents  </li></ul><ul><li>  stress for children   </li></ul><ul><li>family conflict   </li></ul><ul><li>less time for other activities   </li></ul><ul><li>  less interest in learning  </li></ul>
  5. 5. Chapter 2: Does homework improve learning? <ul><li> 1.  At best only an association not a causal relationship  </li></ul><ul><li> 2.  Do we really know how much homework kids do?  -  depends who you ask and on the individual student     </li></ul><ul><li>3.  Homework Studies confuse grades and test scores with learning     </li></ul><ul><li>4.  homework matters less the longer you look </li></ul>
  6. 6. Improving learning? <ul><li> 5.  positive effects are quite small </li></ul><ul><li> 6.  In elementary school no benefit  </li></ul><ul><li> 7.  national and international exams cast further doubt  </li></ul><ul><li> 8.  incidental research raises further doubts </li></ul>
  7. 7. Chp 3: Other benefits of homework <ul><li>Does it teach work ethic and build character? </li></ul><ul><li>Responsibility? </li></ul><ul><li>Do we want what it could teach? </li></ul><ul><li>Picture from: </li></ul>
  8. 8. Chapter 4: Studies show…or do they? <ul><li>Studies that show support are often misquoted. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t always take their word for it. </li></ul><ul><li>Sloppy writing perpetuates the myth of homework. </li></ul><ul><li>An example pg. 77 – re: Marzano </li></ul>
  9. 9. Chapter 5: The Questions left unasked. <ul><li>We are stuck more on the how to do the homework question than to the question of why. </li></ul><ul><li>Due to focus on competition and grades etc. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Chapter 6:What We Haven’t Learned about learning. <ul><li>Fascination with time on task or ToT </li></ul><ul><li>Idea that more homework = more time. </li></ul><ul><li>Interesting debate here with the work of Malcolm Galdwell in “Outliers” </li></ul><ul><li>Push for Quality of Instruction </li></ul><ul><li>An example from my experience </li></ul>
  11. 11. Chapter 7: The Tougher Standards Crowd hits Home <ul><li>1983 Nation at Risk </li></ul><ul><li>Presumption that Rigor = Excellence </li></ul><ul><li>Achievement Gap can be caused by homework perhaps. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Class and homework strategies </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Economy and Work <ul><li>Concern from employers </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we then send jobs over seas? </li></ul><ul><li>Do Foreign companies in America look for the highest quality of work. </li></ul><ul><li>Business and education in general – What is the point of an education. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Chapter 8: Better Get Used to It <ul><li>Better get used to it = BGUTI </li></ul><ul><li>As an excuse doesn’t really hold up but we allow it to. </li></ul><ul><li>Photo from: </li></ul>
  14. 14. Chapter 9: Idle Hands <ul><li>Idle Hands the Devil’s playground </li></ul><ul><li>Great quote from Hesiod pg 152 </li></ul><ul><li>Ageism continues </li></ul><ul><li>Generation We? </li></ul><ul><li>Photo from Flickr: </li></ul>
  15. 15. Chapter 10: Rethinking Homework <ul><li>Changing the Default </li></ul><ul><li>Quantity </li></ul><ul><li>Quality </li></ul><ul><li>Choice </li></ul>
  16. 16. Chapter 11: Make the Change <ul><li>Have courage and give it a try </li></ul><ul><li>Or just try for a unit and see if homework makes any difference. </li></ul><ul><li>If in high school how about do one section without homework? </li></ul>
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