A number of students, parents and teachers alike accept homework as an inherent part of school life. But how beneficial is it? While some parents and teachers insist that it is a significant way to review and practice what has been covered in class, compelling questions are being raised about how much homework students should do and whether they need it at all. Supporters of homework argue it not only has academic benefits, but also helps students develop vital study and time management skills, and gives parents the opportunity to engage in their children’s learning process.
On the other hand, those opposed feel that it creates unnecessary pressure on students for limited academic benefit, reduces the amount of time available to pursue other activities and interests, and places unnecessary pressure on family life.
Astonishingly, a UK-wide ban on extra work for all secondary school pupils is the demand of a 15-year-old schoolboy, Lee Sibley. Sibley goes to Severn Vale School in Quedgeley, Gloucestershire.
The pupil states in his online petition at change.org that he has little time for his hobbies and social life because of his homework workload. He said: “I can’t socialise with my friends and family because of all this homework”.
Sibley’s petition is addressed to Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, the UK Parliament, Gloucester MP Richard Graham and Severn Vale headteacher Richard Johnson.
Questions which arise from this:
- Homework focuses on student learning, development skills and parental involvement. If it is banned, does the school actually possess other ways to evaluate these three aspects?
- It is said that homework at the primary school level has little impact on academic performance, but are there really other scholar tangible methods to reinforce students’ development?
- According to some parents, it creates unnecessary pressure and exhaustion, but is there another way to create school discipline habits students need for secondary school and beyond?
- Can help a parent to understand the progress the child is making at school. However, do most parents really feel the need of understanding this?
Useful vocab for talking about homework
To breach the gap – to connect two things or to make the difference between them smaller.
To reinforce – to strengthen an existing feeling, idea, or habit.
Compliant – ready or disposed to conform, submit, or adapt (as to a regulation or to another’s wishes) as required or requested.
Role – socially expected behaviour pattern usually determined by an individual’s status in a particular society.
Expectations – a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.
Per se – a Latin phrase meaning “by itself” or “in itself”.
To draw the line – to fix a boundary excluding what one will not tolerate or engage in.
Tasks – a usually assigned piece of work often to be finished within a certain time.
Skills – the ability to do something well; expertise.
Inadequate – lacking the quality or quantity required; insufficient for a purpose.
Practicality – the aspects of a situation that involve the actual doing or experience of something rather than theories or ideas.
Mortgage – convey (a property) to a creditor as security on a loan.
Pension – a regular payment made during a person’s retirement from an investment fund to which that person or their employer has contributed during their working life.
Watch the video and then answer the questions below.
1. What’s the point of homework?
2. What does Nicola want to do after work?
3. Are Nicola’s children given homework?
4. How do her children feel about homework?
5. What is her opinion on the role of being a parent?
6. What is Nicola’s opinion regarding homework?
7. Why do students forget what they are taught in school?
Reasons for doing homework
- Homework helps children develop positive study skills, responsibility and discipline from a very young age.
- Parents can be part of their children’s education since homework is a collaborative process between the student, parent and the school.
- Homework can help parents to understand the progress the child is making at school.
- Homework brings the family together as all members play a role in the learning process.
Reasons to ban homework
- Homework deprives children of time to develop other life skills built through social interaction and recreational activities.
- It reduces the amount of time available to follow other activities and interests which greater long-term benefit.
- Homework can be stressful. It creates unnecessary pressure on students.
- It places pressure on everyday life and creates a fraction within families.
Potential debating topics
- Schools that assist parents in providing homework to their students tend to have better educational outcomes.
- Homework at the primary school level has little impact on academic performance.
- Homework needs to be adapted for children with learning disabilities to ensure they obtain the same benefit from homework as their peers.
- Homework creates important study habits for students who experience a form of disadvantage. It engages students who may otherwise drop out of the system.
- Society will raise citizens with improved life skills when students have no more homework obligations.
To sum up, homework can promote study habits and self-discipline, while it facilitates parental involvement in their children’s academic performance. However, a large number of people feel that homework can result in preventable stress and tiredness, especially in younger children and working parents.
Up until a connecting relationship between homework, genuine academic achievement and personal growth is demonstrated, this argument is likely to remain unsolved and will continue to be one of personal opinion.