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Are you in favour of ‘no homework' policies?

Discussion in 'Australia - Staffroom' started by TES_Rosaline, Oct 22, 2018.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    What are your views about primary schools in Western Australia banning homework in order to encourage children to spend more time reading, relaxing and playing?

    ‘At least four schools have introduced official "no homework" policies — all they ask of students is to read a little each night, preferably with their parents.

    They argue homework is of no benefit to younger children and can even be detrimental because it gets in the way of important family and recreation time, which allows children to recharge their batteries after a busy day of learning at school.

    It could be the start of a quiet revolution, with a number of other schools watching closely before taking the leap themselves.’

    Is this a good idea? If yes/no, why? Do you think that more schools should follow suit? Is homework worth the stress? Is it beneficial for children? Do you think limited homework helps children to prepare for high school life?

  2. I teach secondary school and I believe homework is essential. The amount of homework should not be overwhelming and should be meaningful. All of literacy and numeracy should be practised each day. Writing, spelling and maths are just as important as reading and are all real-life skills. Employers are complaining that employees are not literate enough, this needs to be tackled as soon as a child is conceived and parental involvement should never end. Completing a literacy test at the end of secondary school is not good enough. It is a way to practise and reinforce skills. I remember in secondary school believing I had a handle on a maths topic whilst in class and then I would go home to do practise questions and I would realise I did not have the grasp I thought I did on the topic. It is a way to explore any interest which cannot all be catered for at school. We did projects at my primary school of any topic we chose. I loved going to the library with my mother and picking out a non-fiction book to complete my project on from Japan, to eating utensils, to chocolate and Mary-Kate and Ashley. This also provided my teacher with new ways of getting to know me and ways to get to know her e.g. I found out her favourite chocolate was Topdeck so it was part of my Christmas present for her. There are numerous ways to incorporate the family, e.g. in primary school part of an activity was to time the ad breaks whilst watching a t.v. show - knowledge that I still have today. If there were more hours in the day then more could be taught during the school day but not everything can be taught from 9-3:10 (although I am available well beyond those hours). It is about balance, it is about preparing students for secondary school and the workforce, there aren’t many jobs where you don’t bring some work home with you and by that stage you have a lot more responsibilities. It is about intrinsic motivation, not taking the easy way out. Completing tasks independently as well as with a teacher, friends, siblings, parents, guardians etc. creates confidence and bonds. Prepare students while they’re young and they’ll love learning throughout their lives.
  3. chalkandduster

    chalkandduster New commenter

    Hello Rosaline,

    What an interesting topic and post!

    I must say I tend to agree with the ‘no homework’ policy.
    I work in a Steiner primary school and, generally, it is common practice in the Steiner setting to not give children homework. Without going into too much detail about the philosophical reasons behind this choice, I would like to say why I think it’s best not to give homework.

    I believe that one of the main reasons why homework is assigned is so that students can practise what has been done in class. Now, if we, as teachers, embed practice in our daily teaching and learning activities, this will give students an opportunity to practise during the school day, thus leaving the rest of the day for resting.

    I often find that homework is seen as a chore, an imposition, which renders the learning process less enjoyable. Also, I feel it is extremely important for children to rest and play, and to give the mind time to digest what has been learnt.

    In saying this, I would not discourage a child from reading, or exploring certain concepts further. I think that children (and people in general) learn best when the learning is instigated by interest.

    I would also like to specify that this is my personal opinion and, while somewhat consistent with the Steiner philosophy, it is not meant as a description of the philosophy.

    It would be interesting to hear what others think.


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