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), or that it “reinforces” what students were taught in class (a word that denotes the repetition of rote behaviors, not the development of understanding), or that it teaches children self-discipline and responsibility (a claim for which absolutely no evidence exists).
Too many fifth graders have to color in an endless list of factor pairs on graph paper.
Too many eighth graders spend their evenings inching their way through dull, overstuffed, committee-written textbooks, one chapter at a time.
Teachers should be invited to reflect on whether any given example of homework will help students think deeply about questions that matter.
What philosophy of teaching, what theory of learning, lies behind each assignment?
Some assignments, frankly, aren’t worth even five minutes of a student’s time.
Too many first graders are forced to clip words from magazines that begin with a given letter of the alphabet.
It becomes even more curious, for that matter, in light of three other facts: 1. They include children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities, and possible loss of interest in learning.
Many parents lament the impact of homework on their relationship with their children; they may also resent having to play the role of enforcer and worry that they will be criticized either for not being involved enough with the homework or for becoming too involved. The positive effects of homework are largely mythical.
Does it seem to assume that children are meaning makers — or empty vessels?
Is learning regarded as a process that’s mostly active or passive? Ultimately, it’s not enough just to have less homework or even better homework.