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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.

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.

Published in: Education, Sports

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