Should Teachers Assign Homework Essays

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#1 (permalink) Sun May 25, 2014 16:38 pm   Essay: Should teachers assign homework to students every day? 

Should teachers assign homework to students every day?

This conversation happened all the time when I was a little kid. “Mum, I want to watch TV when I arrive home.” “No, honey,” my mother always answered very softly but firmly, “You have to finish your homework first.” “But,” I would usually got a bit upset at the response. “I do not like homework. Why must I do it every day?” Why must we do homework every day? Why must teachers assign it every day? Nearly every student ask these two question thousands of times when caught in the middle of school assignments. Though I still do not like homework tremendously, I think teachers are right to assign daily homework, for there are many benefits to homework.

In the first place, homework provides opportunities for reinforcement of work learned during school time. It is commonly acknowledged that a timely review of what one has learned is crucial when it comes to his/her mastery of the knowledge. The assignments given to students are usually carefully designed by the teachers so that they can best help the students memorize and digest the knowledge. In fact, daily homework help me to possess a clearer view of what I have learned in classes and bare the points that I may have misunderstood during the lectures, so that I can get a better grasp of the knowledge.

Besides, everyday homework enhances students’ ability to manage their time. Frequently, students find themselves in an awkward situations where their hearts go with the football while their heads are in their homework. Thus, students must learn to measure out their limited time and balance their leisure and work. Also, they learn to weigh the priorities, sometimes forcing themselves to postpone some enjoyment in order to accomplish the assignments expected of them on deadline. This prepares them for life after school when excuses and tardy work are usually frowned upon.

Furthermore, for teachers, homework provides additional instruction in practice. The quality of student’s homework gives teachers a chance to reflect on the effectiveness their lectures, thus helping them to improve. For example, if homework was generally poorly done, the teacher might consider his or her teaching method over a certain subject: was the lecture too abstract for students? Or maybe he/she should have backed up a little bit at the beginning of the lecture. Thus, the teacher could try to avoid such cases for a second time, which, no doubt, can enhance students’ studying efficiency.

Considering all the merits of homework mentioned above, maybe to assign homework or not is actually not a question. While tons of assignments are certainly great burdens for those who finish it as well as those who correct it, moderate daily homework is of great benefits to both groups of people.

Thank you, Luschen! Your advice and corrections are awesome!

TOEFL listening lectures: A lecture from an arts class (2)
Luckyxuan
I'm new here and I like it ;-)


Joined: 19 May 2014
Posts: 36

#2 (permalink) Tue May 27, 2014 15:26 pm   Re: Essay: Should teachers assign homework to students every day? 

Hi Luckyxuan, another fantastic essay. I could find a few minor errors, but your content is excellent and your flow seems better in this one.

Luckyxuan wrote:
Should teachers assign homework to students every day?

This conversation happened all the time when I was a little kid.{colon is better here I think} “Mum, I want to watch TV when I arrive home.” “No, honey,” my mother always answered very softly but firmly, “You have to finish your homework first.” “But,” I would usually got a bit upset at the response. “I do not like homework. Why must I do it every day?” Why must we do homework every day? Why must teachers assign it every day? Nearly every student ask[s ] these two question thousands of times when caught in the middle of school assignments. Though I still do not like homework tremendously, I think teachers are right to assign daily homework, for there are many benefits to [it] {or maybe better to use a synonym - maybe "benefits to completing assignments outside the classroom"} {I really liked this introduction - very creative, yet very effective in introducing your argument}

In the first place, homework provides opportunities for reinforcement of work learned during school time. It is commonly acknowledged that a timely review of what one has learned is crucial when it comes to his/her mastery of the knowledge. The assignments given to students are usually carefully designed by the teachers so that they can best help the students memorize and digest the knowledge. In fact, daily homework help[s ]{"homework" is non-countable singular} me to possess a clearer view of what I have learned in classes and bare{maybe "and lays bare the points", but "exposes the points" or "illuminates the points"} seems better in this context} the points that I may have misunderstood during the lectures, so that I can get a better grasp of the knowledge.

Besides, everyday homework enhances students’ ability to manage their time. Frequently, students find themselves in an awkward situations{singular/plural mismatch} where their hearts go with the football while their heads are in their homework. {I guess I understand what you are saying, but "go with the football" maybe more clear to say "their hearts are in following their favorite football team"} Thus, students must learn to measure out their limited time and balance their leisure and work. Also, they learn to weigh the priorities, sometimes forcing themselves to postpone some enjoyment in order to accomplish the assignments expected of them on deadline. This prepares them for life after school[,] when excuses and tardy work are usually frowned upon.

Furthermore, for teachers, homework provides additional instruction in practice.{this "in practice" is a little unclear to me - are you meaning by extra practice, or in reality?} The quality of student’s homework gives teachers a chance to reflect on the effectiveness [of] their lectures, thus helping them to improve. For example, if homework was generally poorly done, the teacher might consider his or her teaching method [of] a certain subject: was the lecture too abstract for students? Or maybe he/she should have backed up a little bit at the beginning of the lecture. Thus, the teacher could try to avoid such cases for a second time, which, no doubt, can enhance students’ studying efficiency.

Considering all the merits of homework mentioned above, maybe {I would add "whether" here, I suppose Shakespeare didn't say "whether to be or not to be", but maybe it would have made his sentence more clear :) } to assign homework or not is actually not a {"the" - it is a question, but not "the correct" question} question. While tons of assignments are certainly great burdens for those who finish it {plural/singular mismatch} as well as those who correct it, moderate daily homework is of great benefits to both groups of people.

Thank you, Luschen! Your advice and corrections are awesome!

TOEFL listening lectures: A lecture from an arts class (2)
Luschen
I'm a Communicator ;-)


Joined: 08 Apr 2011
Posts: 8641
Location: Nashville TN, USA
#3 (permalink) Thu May 29, 2014 8:19 am   Essay: Should teachers assign homework to students every day? 

Hi Luschen, thank you for your correction first. You are always so careful and patient with my mistakes!
Actually, about this sentence in my essay "Furthermore, for teachers, homework provides additional instruction in practice", I was not very sure of what it meant when I wrote it. I wanted to say that the quality of students' work could help teachers and something like that. But I had no idea how to write it more specifically. Then I viewed some websites and I thought this sentence had expressed it clearly...:(
Anyway, do you mind giving me some tips on how to summarize that forth para? I am still struggling with the topic sentence of this para.
Thank you!
Luckyxuan
I'm new here and I like it ;-)


Joined: 19 May 2014
Posts: 36

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At the start of the 2013-14 school year, the Fentress County School District in Tennessee announced that it would enforce a district-wide ban on graded homework assignments.

Administrators explained their decision by pointing to the large majority of students who lacked at-home resources to help them with their homework. Anywhere between 65%-75% of each school’s student body qualify for free or reduced lunch programs, so it was  decided that students should not be singled out for failing to adequately complete take-home assignments.

“We don’t want kids to be unfairly penalized for their work because they don’t have the resources or support they need at home,” explained Randy Clark, Fentress County Schools’ Curriculum and Instruction Supervisor. “Our new motto for assignments is ‘review and preview.”

That means that homework in the district now constitutes an ungraded review or preview of current course work that’s the students’ responsibility to independently complete. Spelling words, vocabulary practice, and study guides for testing all fall under this purview.

The Great Homework Debate
Some educators aren’t fans of the new policy. Tammy Linder, a sixth grade teacher at Allardt Elementary School, is one of them.

“Students have not had that daily homework practice in any subject that keeps the concepts ‘alive’ and moving in their brains, so that means that much of the practice time and teaching time and testing time had to come during the class time each day,” Linder says.

Still, other districts across the country are taking second looks at the practice. The principal of Gaithersburg Elementary in Maryland decided to ask students to spend only 30 minutes in the evening reading. The decision was reached out of the realization that worksheets and other assignments had been assigned merely out of a sense of obligation to dole our homework to students.

Across the country, parents, teachers, and students are also voicing their opinions in the homework debate. On the issue of the actual educational value of homework, it may seem straightforward to many educators that reviewing lessons and practicing concepts after school would correlate to a greater retention of course material, but studies suggest that the link between assigned homework and academic achievement is drastically overinflated.

Researchers at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education found in a 2012 study that math and science homework didn’t correlate to better student grades, but it did lead to better performances on standardized tests. And when homework is assigned, the help provided by parents often mitigated any of the positive effects of the work. Critics of this type of parental involvement say it can be counterproductive because parents may assume too great  a role and/or may not fully understand the lessons being taught.

In April, Denise Pope, a researcher at Stanford University, found that too much homework can negatively affect kids by increasing stress and sleep deprivation and generally leaving less time for family, friends, and activities. According to Pope, homework should not be simply assigned as a routine practice.

“Rather, any homework assigned should have a purpose and benefit, and it should be designed to cultivate learning and development.”

Video: Do Students Really Have Too Much Homework?

No Homework the New Norm?
“There are simply no compelling data to justify the practice of making kids work what amounts to a second shift when they get home from a full day of school,” says Alfie Kohn, an expert on child education, parenting, and human behavior, as well as the author of The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing.

Should schools then assign less homework or at least reevaluate what they assign? No, says Kohn, school shouldn’t assign any homework. Teachers who do assign it need to have a very compelling reason for extending a student’s school day.

“My general suggestion is to change the default: No homework should be the norm,” Kohn says, “Six hours of academics is enough—except on those occasions when teachers can show strong reason to infringe on family time and make these particular students do more of this particular schoolwork.”

Still, homework is so ingrained in the fabric of schooling that studies revealing its minimal positive benefits have been largely shrugged off or ignored altogether. For most educators, completely cutting homework out of schools isn’t a viable alternative – at least not yet. And many, if not most, teachers are unconvinced that gutting homework from their repertoire of learning tools is the best idea anyway.

Tammy Linder says that teachers haven’t had the amount of teaching time they usually need to enforce classroom lessons and concepts. With the heavy focus on standardized testing already in schools, losing precious out-of-school homework time drastically diminishes how long teachers can devote to thoroughly covering a given subject, as well as the depth and amount of topics they can cover in a school year.

“I have calculated that I have averaged only two to three ‘teaching’ days per week, depending upon re-teaching for those hard to conquer standards and testing,” Linder says. “My students have not covered as much material as students in the past have because of these factors. Nightly practice of any concept keeps the brain engaged in the topic and helps the student focus.”

Karen Spychala, a teacher in San Jose, believes homework has value, but is concerned about its potential to consume too much time outside the school day.

“Homework has its place: to practice skills and most importantly to involve families in their child’s learning” Spychala explains. “But too much homework that takes over everyone’s lives should never happen. There should be agreed upon standard homework times per grade level.”

Reinventing Homework
Are there ways to deemphasize the overreliance on standard homework assignments and allow students to learn through other conducive means?

One option is changing the paradigm of assigned homework to infuse hands-on, student-led engagement with class lessons as a way of piquing student interest in the material. And instead of simply limiting homework to the teacher/student/parent sphere, allowing students the opportunity to show off exceptional homework to a larger audience can give them a further incentive to put in their best effort.

Angela Downing, an elementary school teacher in Newton, Massachusetts, has found great success in displaying excellent student homework on the walls inside and outside of her classroom. By doing so, homework becomes disassociated from the standard teacher-student relationship and gains a whole new level of importance that draws students into the assignment.

“This practice sends the message to students that their work and their learning are important and valued,” Downing says. “Students take special care to do their best work when they know that the final piece will be displayed in the hall or on the classroom bulletin board.”

But for Bonnie Stone, an elementary school teacher in Tulsa, too much homework is too much homework. She saw the impact on her own children and vowed to curtail what she assigned her students.

“As a result of their experience, I vowed never to assign more than 30 minutes of outside reading enrichment for my students,” Stone recalls. “They work hard in class all day. After that, they need to be kids and teens. And I’ve seen no change in the achievement level of my students since I stopped assigning homework.”

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