Homework in K-12 Education


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A presentation to a Foundations of Education class where the purpose was to provoke thought on if/why/when homework should be assigned in their future classrooms.

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Homework in K-12 Education

  1. 1. Homework Is it good or bad? Are we assigning too much? Why are we assigning it at all?
  2. 2. Homework <ul><li>History of Homework </li></ul><ul><li>The “Pro” side </li></ul><ul><li>The “Con” side </li></ul><ul><li>What we can expect and do as future teachers </li></ul>
  3. 3. Homework <ul><li>Definition: tasks assigned to students by school teachers that are intended to be carried out during non-school hours </li></ul>
  4. 4. History of Homework <ul><li>Cycles of good and bad feelings about homework </li></ul>
  5. 5. 1800s <ul><li>Only high school </li></ul><ul><li>Non-compulsory attendance past age 14 </li></ul><ul><li>Only best students of the well-off attended high school </li></ul>
  6. 6. 1890s- 1940s <ul><li>Progressive movement </li></ul><ul><li>Homework = evil </li></ul><ul><li>Most protests for homework in grades 5 through 8 </li></ul><ul><li>Still non existent K-4 </li></ul><ul><li>OK for high school </li></ul>
  7. 7. 1950s and 1960s <ul><li>Death of progressive movement </li></ul><ul><li>Birth of the space race </li></ul><ul><li>Homework as national defense policy </li></ul>
  8. 8. 1970s <ul><li>1968-1972 </li></ul><ul><li>Change and challenge to political authority </li></ul><ul><li>Shift from homework is best to how to keep kids in school and behaving </li></ul>
  9. 9. 1980s <ul><li>Beginning of strong international competition </li></ul><ul><li>Publishing of A Nation at Risk (1983) </li></ul><ul><li>Schools go back to basics </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Education releases homework guidelines </li></ul>
  10. 10. 1990s - Today <ul><li>Exponential increases in homework </li></ul><ul><li>1981, 1997 and 2004 studies </li></ul><ul><li>Grades 3-6 spend 50 – 75 minutes on homework each night by 1997 </li></ul><ul><li>Any given day 58% of K-3 have homework in 1997, up from 31% in ‘81 </li></ul>
  11. 11. 1990s - Today <ul><li>2004 Michigan study shows amount of time spent on homework is up 51% since 1981 (across all grades) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Examples of What is Out There <ul><li>Ritenour School District </li></ul><ul><li>Elementary </li></ul><ul><li>Middle School </li></ul><ul><li>High School </li></ul>
  13. 13. Pro-Homework Side <ul><li>Beneficial </li></ul><ul><li>Academic </li></ul><ul><li>Character Building </li></ul>
  14. 14. Academic <ul><li>supplement in-school academics </li></ul><ul><li>impact on test scores </li></ul><ul><li>increased student achievement </li></ul>
  15. 15. Character Building <ul><li>Heightened study skills </li></ul><ul><li>Time management skills </li></ul>
  16. 16. Anti-Homework Side <ul><li>Time factors </li></ul><ul><li>Student achievement? </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforce Economic and Social Inequities </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: HW should be something done occasionally when outside-of-school learning expands on the classroom topic </li></ul>
  17. 17. Time Consuming <ul><li>Extracurricular activities </li></ul><ul><li>Family Time or Family Stress </li></ul><ul><li>Working OT </li></ul>
  18. 18. Extracurriculars <ul><li>Music lessons </li></ul><ul><li>Dance class </li></ul><ul><li>Sports teams </li></ul><ul><li>Social and psycho-motor skills </li></ul>
  19. 19. Family Time <ul><li>Takes away from quality family time </li></ul><ul><li>Parents nagging </li></ul><ul><li>Students biggest cause of stress </li></ul>
  20. 20. Working OT <ul><li>School as student’s job </li></ul><ul><li>American Educational Research Association report </li></ul><ul><li>&quot; Whenever homework crowds out social experience, outdoor recreation, and creative activities, and whenever it usurps time that should be devoted to sleep, it is not meeting the basic needs of children and adolescents.&quot; </li></ul>
  21. 21. Student Achievement <ul><li>No link between HW and student achievement until high school </li></ul><ul><li>HW as school reform on the cheap </li></ul><ul><li>Change focus to instructional quality and equity of access </li></ul><ul><li>Diminishing returns </li></ul>
  22. 22. Diminishing Returns
  23. 23. Diminishing Returns
  24. 24. Habit? <ul><li>Universal practice </li></ul><ul><li>Perpetuating a belief, myth </li></ul><ul><li>Predetermined benefit without thought of how, when, why used </li></ul>
  25. 25. Character building <ul><li>Work ethic? </li></ul><ul><li>No study confirmed link between HW and its supposed social benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Can be taught at home in different ways </li></ul>
  26. 26. The Joy of Learning <ul><li>Worst part of too much homework </li></ul><ul><li>Too much, too soon leads to loss of love in learning </li></ul><ul><li>Reading example </li></ul>
  27. 27. International Competition <ul><li>Penn State and Mizzou joint research </li></ul><ul><li>8 th graders and math scores </li></ul><ul><li>Japan, Czech Republic and Denmark </li></ul>
  28. 28. Reinforcing Economic and Social Inequities <ul><li>family responsibilities (e.g. job) </li></ul><ul><li>parents work nights </li></ul><ul><li>no educational resources at home </li></ul><ul><li>well-educated parents </li></ul><ul><li>computer at home </li></ul><ul><li>access to databases </li></ul>STUDENT#2 STUDENT#1
  29. 29. Role of the Teacher <ul><li>What you will hear: </li></ul><ul><li>too much </li></ul><ul><li>too little </li></ul><ul><li>too long </li></ul><ul><li>too short </li></ul><ul><li>too hard </li></ul><ul><li>too easy </li></ul><ul><li>too ambiguous </li></ul>
  30. 30. The Teacher’s Role <ul><li>Ill-informed are ones demanding more </li></ul><ul><li>beholden to old ways </li></ul><ul><li>really wanting reassurance that something is happening in your classroom </li></ul>
  31. 31. The Teacher’s Role <ul><li>How to grade? </li></ul><ul><li>Grade for completion </li></ul><ul><li>Grade for right/wrong answers </li></ul><ul><li>Issues related to these </li></ul>
  32. 32. The Teacher’s Role <ul><li>Zeroes—yes or no? </li></ul><ul><li>Columbia ZAP program </li></ul>
  33. 33. Zero-Homework Policies <ul><li>Alfie Kohn thinks it should be the default </li></ul><ul><li>Phil Lyons in Palo Alto </li></ul><ul><li>Bellwether School (Vermont) </li></ul>
  34. 34. 10-Minute Rule of Thumb <ul><li>Elementary </li></ul><ul><li>Middle School </li></ul><ul><li>High School </li></ul>
  35. 35. Designing Homework <ul><li>First Thought: </li></ul><ul><li>Is this truly something that should be done at home versus at school? </li></ul>
  36. 36. Designing Homework <ul><li>What is the purpose? </li></ul><ul><li>Instructional </li></ul><ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Political </li></ul>
  37. 37. Designing Homework <ul><li>High Quality </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforces, not a new skill </li></ul><ul><li>Adjust to abilities and rates of learning </li></ul><ul><li>Let students have say in some aspects of the homework </li></ul><ul><li>Consider flexible deadlines </li></ul><ul><li>Age appropriate? </li></ul>
  38. 38. Communication with Parents <ul><li>Explain district policy </li></ul><ul><li>Explain own policy </li></ul><ul><li>Explain how they coincide/overlap </li></ul>
  39. 39. Projects <ul><li>Communicate details of big projects near beginning of term, school year </li></ul><ul><li>Break down into manageable pieces </li></ul><ul><li>Allows preparation </li></ul>
  40. 40. Natural vs Un-Natural Homework <ul><li>Elementary </li></ul><ul><li>Free choice reading, with progress chart </li></ul><ul><li>Replicating a science experiment </li></ul><ul><li>TIPS Methodology </li></ul>
  41. 41. TIPS methodology <ul><li>Interactive </li></ul><ul><li>Promotes family conversations </li></ul><ul><li>Involved without having to teach/tutor </li></ul><ul><li>Averages example </li></ul>
  42. 42. Natural vs Un-Natural Homework <ul><li>Middle School </li></ul><ul><li>Free choice reading </li></ul><ul><li>Family history interviews </li></ul><ul><li>Organizing materials for future projects </li></ul>
  43. 43. Natural vs Un-Natural Homework <ul><li>High School: more independent and involved </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Preparatory readings </li></ul><ul><li>Project work </li></ul>
  44. 44. Summary <ul><li>No correlation between effectiveness of teacher and amount of HW assigned </li></ul><ul><li>Great teachers will have some days of HW and some days off </li></ul><ul><li>Not a prescribed idea </li></ul>
  45. 45. Further Readings <ul><li>Kohn, Alfie The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing (Da Capo: 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Bennett, Sara and Nancy Kalish The Case Against Homework: How Homework is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It . (Crown: 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Theory into Practice Summer 2004 </li></ul>
  46. 46. Sources <ul><li>Baker, David P. and Gerald K. LeTendre. &quot;Too Much Homework Can Be Counterproductive.&quot; Penn State News 31 May 2005: 3. </li></ul><ul><li>Bennett, Sara. &quot;Homework Does Not = A's.&quot; USA Today 3 July 2006, National Edition: A8. </li></ul><ul><li>Corno, Lyn and Xu, Jianzhong. &quot;Homework as the Job of Childhood.&quot; Theory Into Practice 43.3 (2004): 227-233. </li></ul><ul><li>Coutts, Pamela M. &quot;Meanings of Homework and Implications for Practice.&quot; Theory Into Practice 43.3 (2004): 182-188. </li></ul><ul><li>Gill, Brian P. and Steven L. Schlossman. &quot;Villain or Savior?: The American Discourse on Homework, 1850-2003.&quot; Theory Into Practice 43.3 (2004): 174-181. </li></ul><ul><li>Haddock, Vicki. &quot;After Years of Piling It On, There's a New Movement To…Abolish Homework.&quot; San Francisco Chronicle 8 Oct 2006, Final Edition: F1. </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The Homework Hubbub.&quot; Weekly Reader News 88.8 (2006): 3-3. </li></ul><ul><li>Kohn, Alfie. &quot;Down With Homework.&quot; Instructor 116.2 (2006): 43-68. </li></ul><ul><li>Kohn, Alfie. The Homework Myth: Why our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing . New York: Da Capo, 2006. </li></ul><ul><li>Kohn, Alfie. &quot;Kids May be Right After All: Homework Stinks.&quot; USA Today 14 Sept 2006, National Edition: A13 </li></ul><ul><li>Lacina-Gifford, Lorna J., and Russell B. Gifford. &quot;Putting an End to the Battle Over Homework.&quot; Education 125.2 (2004): 279-281. </li></ul><ul><li>Nyhan, Paul. &quot;Parents, Authors and Even Some Teachers Rebel Against Homework.&quot; Seattle Post-Intelligencer 3 October 2006, Final Edition: A1. </li></ul><ul><li>Stokes, Sutton R. &quot;Closing the Book on Homework: Enhancing Public Education and Freeing Family Time.&quot; Radical Teacher 75 (2006): 38-39. </li></ul><ul><li>Van Voorhis, Frances L. &quot;Reflecting on the Homework Ritual: Assignment and Designs.&quot; Theory Into Practice 43.3 (2004): 205-212. </li></ul><ul><li>Wallis, Claudia. &quot;The Myth About Homework.&quot; Time 4 Sept 2006: 59. </li></ul><ul><li>Wascoe, Dan. &quot;Setting Time for Learning.&quot; Minneapolis Star Tribune 16 Oct 2006, Metro Edition: B1. </li></ul>