Thursday, August 2, 2012

Journal 6

Ten Reasons to Get Rid of Homework (and five alternatives)

Spencer, J. (2011, September 19). Ten reasons to get rid of homework (and five alternatives). Retrieved from 

Summary: John Spencer suggests that we need to get rid of homework because children should be spending more time doing other things than working on assignments by themselves. His reasoning, on top of many other things is that many children do not have the assistance of their parents to help with concepts they do not understand. Many others are helping out their single parents by babysitting their younger siblings. He also points out that many high school age children are busy with extra curricular activities and should be able to enjoy them without having homework to interfere. My favorite point he makes is that "Most homework is bad". I find this to be very true. Many teachers will send their students home with a packet that they got out of a meaningless textbook. 

Five Alternatives to homework:

1. Ask students to reflect on their day in that particular class. Maybe they can address what they learned, how they were feeling, if they felt particularly tired or fatigued. Or maybe the teacher can assign one question that is open ended for the students to answer that day. The point is for the students to go home and think about what they learned, not assign them more practice drills

2. Send the students home with efficient study guides to prepare them for quizzes and tests. After all, I know I want to see my students succeed. I would love it if all of my class could get A's. There needs to be a new wave of learning that doesnt revolve around points from correct or incorrect answers. I remember I took a Spanish grammar class, I would do every single assignment but he would grade the homework. Many assignments I ended up with an "F". It felt very defeating.

3. Have the students relate what they learned in class that day to a real world situation. Instead of sending them home with a packet, have them write you a paragraph explaining how they think the lesson could be incorporated into daily life. 

4. Have the students do real research, but teach them how. I remember doing tons of meaningless projects in my classes. Many of them, I was only going through the motions for the grade. Rather than forcing me to read 600 pages a month, have the whole class analyze an important piece of literature together. Tell them to research the author, and their method of operations. (Again there are no right or wrong answers)

5. Try to get the kids emotional about something by letting them talk about themselves. In Spanish class, let them cook their favorite meal and give the recipe to the class in Spanish. In English class, let them relate a character to themselves and explain why. The easiest way to get kids to talk is by appealing to their emotions.  

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