Tuesday, January 30, 2007

No upside to homework

Alfie Kohn is going to be very well like in the K-8 community. From the UK Observer article "Why Homework isn't Working":

Family tension is just one of a string of negative effects of homework for young children, according to an explosive new book which says much of it is pointless. The book, The Homework Myth, to be published in Britain in the spring, also says too much if it turns children off education and does not make them do any better in tests.
What surprised me is not the downside of homework, but the fact there appears to be no upside,' said Kohn. 'No study has ever shown an academic benefit to homework before high school.
'It needs to be meaningful,' said [Susan Hallam, a professor at the Institute for Education in London]. 'If it is just being set as something schools feel they have to do with no real thought to its purpose, then it is a waste of time. Homework, if taken to the extreme, can completely disrupt family life.'
Ms. Hallam is exactly correct. If it's busy work it's worse than wasteful it cuts into valuable family time. Every teacher ought to be able to provide a parent with a reasonable explanation of the educational benefit of the homework.

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