3 Healthy Homework Guidelines from Experts

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In this remarkable video, the organization Race to Nowhere reveals astonishing information about homework to the National PTA. In the video, education researchers and authors like Alfie Kohn and Sara Bennett discuss the deleterious effects of homework, including the valuable family time that it steals from both students and parents.

Here at Brilliant or Insane, we’ve certainly done our part to highlight the negative impact of traditional homework. We’ve decried the misguided notions that many educators have about homework: That it teaches responsibility; that it helps with achievement; that homework increases skill levels.

Homework may be the single greatest extinguisher of children’s curiosity that we have yet invented.Alfie Kohn

While Kohn and Bennett discourage assigning homework, they do offer “basic common sense guidelines” to educators who can’t imagine completely eliminating homework.

3 Healthy Homework Guidelines

1-Homework should advance a spirit of learning: Any activity assigned beyond a six-hour school day should clearly promote real learning and deeper thinking.

2-Homework should be student-directed: Kohn and many other educators believe that kids learn better when they have a voice in what they do to advance their learning.

3-Homework should promote a balanced schedule: Bennett underscores the need for children to have free time: “When my kids are at home, I want them to be children.” This means play–a cornerstone of healthy maturation that schools often disdain.

Education policymakers often point to countries like Finland when discussing successful education. Meanwhile, schools in Finland assign virtually no homework. Schools in China, known for their rigorous education standards, recently began reviewing homework policies and decided to dramatically reduce the amount of nightly homework assigned.

We have wondered, When Will the Homework Madness Stop? As research and discussion among education thought leaders continue to mount, this question begs to be answered by educators around the world.

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Mark Barnes is the author of many education books, including Bestseller Hacking Education, part of his Hack Learning Series, books that solve big problems with simple ideas. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and student-centered learning. Join more than 100,000 interested educators who follow @markbarnes19 on Twitter.
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