School homework has been an ongoing topic of debate with no clear winner or conclusion on whether it is a ‘boon’ or a ‘bane’. Some parents feel children should not be burdened by studies post-school hours and extra homework adds to the stress levels of students. Others feel homework is very essential as it helps learners practice and reinforces concepts that are taught in school. And yet others feel homework is important, but when allocated in moderation.
Benefits for homework to students
- Homework gives the student a chance to gain confidence by independently trying to solve a sum or write down an answer to a question asked.
- Homework ensures that children don’t go back home and forget the concepts taught in class, but invest time in practicing the same for better recall.
- Students would find it difficult to appear for their quarterly exams, if they weren’t regularly revising their studies. Homework gives them a chance to keep the revision ongoing even when there are no exams.
- Parents get to know what the school is currently teaching by helping & observing their kids do the homework.
- Submission of homework within the deadlines teaches children the importance of time management and commitment towards work.
Barriers that may arise by assigning homework to students
- If children are burdened by homework, they wouldn’t have time for play or extra-curricular activities, which is absolutely essential to rejuvenate their minds & bodies.
- It robs them of having fun in their golden years of life. Socialization with neighbors and friends after-school hours goes a long way in developing their personalities.
- Too much homework, leads to malpractices like cheating. Students are in a hurry to finish the homework and simply copy the answers from their textbooks to get over with it
- Sometimes parents who are involved in helping their child finish the homework may confuse the student further by teaching them their own method, which might be different from what they learnt in school.
- Having to deal with studies all the time creates fatigue and children may lose interest in learning.
Strategies for Assigning Homework
In the above paragraphs, we have seen the pros and cons of assigning homework to students. However, we feel that moderation is key. While curating homework strategies, the important point to remember is; focus on quality over quantity. If you are an educator, here are some helpful tips:
- Keep every student’s requirements in mind. Ask yourself, what topic does the student need to focus on the most in order to be in sync with the learning in class. Nowadays, there are ERP platforms that are integrated within the school’s curriculum to assist the educator in creating homework assignments. One such popular tool used by schools in the Middle East is NLP (Next Learning Platform). NLP’s homework management and reporting program enables teachers to customize homework according to the learning capacities of the child. It even tracks the submission and notifies the teacher when the student has finished the assignment. NLP is indeed a handy integrated learning platform used widely in Dubai and GCC countries.
- Support classroom learning by asking children to watch educational videos on the topic as homework and then ask them oral questions in school the next day, to gauge their level of understanding. Asking learners to watch videos is less time- consuming and drives down the concept more effectively through audio-visual aids.
- Instead of individualized homework, divide the class into groups and allocate project work. This solves dual purposes. Children learn to interact which develops their social skills, and they get to learn from each other while doing their own research. Project work and group presentations also prepare students for college life and most IB schools in UAE prefer this hands-on approach to learning.
Homework Tips for parents
- Set an allocated time for homework as per the child’s convenience. Some students prefer finishing their school work as soon as they get back home, while others may want to relax and do their homework late in the evening. Leave it up to them to choose the time, but make sure they do not cheat by skipping the schedule.
- While doing the homework, children may have queries or doubts to be resolved. Parents need to be passive participants in the child’s homework routine and help them wherever required. However, the idea is not to do the homework on behalf of the child.
- Just like the child is not allowed to eat or play with the mobile phone in a classroom environment, parents must keep all distractions at bay at home too. Do not make food available on the table when the child is engrossed in homework and keep all toys away.