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Homework - Honest views please

Discussion in 'Primary' started by hoopsa, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Hi all
    Could I just take a little of your very precious time over the Christmas period. I am embarking on a TLDW project about homework and the pros and cons. I would particularly like to hear the views/reasons of primary teachers (I am a primary teacher myself) and if you are also a parent, views from a parent’s perspective will also be very welcome. I will be using some of the answers as evidence so please only post if you would be happy for me to do so. Thanks in advance and have a very happy (and restful) Christmas. Hoopsa
  2. Hi all
    Could I just take a little of your very precious time over the Christmas period. I am embarking on a TLDW project about homework and the pros and cons. I would particularly like to hear the views/reasons of primary teachers (I am a primary teacher myself) and if you are also a parent, views from a parent’s perspective will also be very welcome. I will be using some of the answers as evidence so please only post if you would be happy for me to do so. Thanks in advance and have a very happy (and restful) Christmas. Hoopsa
  3. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Wow! Nearly ten years for your first post ...
  4. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Pros: Parents like it; it gives some opportunities for parents to be more invovled with their children's learning.
    Cons: Some parents don't like it; it's more marking; there is relatively little evidence that it serves to improve achievement or attainment; it causes family feuds in some cases; it's a burden to chase; it opens up more opportunity for misconceptions to arise; it will probably increase the photocopying bill; any slight typo or error on anything sent home can cause horrendous outpourings of anxiety from fussy parents... oh.. and did I mention that evidence doesn't suggest it's really worth all the bother?
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Personally I'm not a great fan.
    As a parent with dyslexic children( who just saw it as <u>more work</u> which they didn't want to do and were tired) it was a tremendous hassle & often bore no relation to the lesson and did nothing to 'further their learning'.
    As a teacher, agree with tafkam just more marking and often not a child's 'own work'.
    However, having said that, (again agreeing with tafkam) <u>if</u> the homework i<u>s designed as a 'get the family involved' activit</u>y, I have found it incredibly productive. Providing it's not a 'to be done by next day/handed in on Monday' activity. which tends to cause more hassle for parents.
  6. I don't like homework as a parent or a teacher. I don't think my children gain anything from it, either when it is independent or an activity they have to do with the family. Families that do things together will do it (but don't need to) and the others won't.
    Tafkam - thank you for that link, it's an interesting study.
  7. Totally agree with all of the above. As a primary teacher of many years and a parent of 2 now grown up children, i have never seen any value in homework. Children that like to do extra work at home will, children that don't - won't! Often work that is handed in is a disgrace and sometimes it ids done by the parents or older siblings and therefore has no value. It is very tiresome trying to chase it up but if you don't it is devalued in the eyes of the children.
    My school has gone down the Learning Log route - but this makes no real difference - some do and some don't some give a nod in the general direction but show no committment.
    We need to stop the nonsense and save them and us valuable time.
  8. Homework is one of the banes of my life - as both a parent and a primary teacher.
    As a teacher, it takes forever to set (my school requires weekly literacy, numeracy, spellings, times table and topic homework, all differentiated three ways), forever to mark, and has little impact on children, in my opinion. Those that enjoy doing it do it reasonably well, with some parental support if needed, and hand it in on time. Those that don't want to do it (usually those that could benefit from it!) either hand in a complete shambles, with little or no evidence of parental support, or hand in nothing and take up more time to chase and fill in paperwork. I always make sure I mark homework and write comments, so that both parents and children can see it is valued, again taking more time.
    As a parent, I've always had to nag to get homework completed, because tasks set are generally so uninspiring, too difficult, or too long-winded. On the odd occasion when engaging homework has been set, my child has embraced it whole-heartedly. My child's homework in any subject (secondary) is rarely marked, or is subject to a "tick and flick" which does not reflect the amount of time that has been put into it.
    If I were Prime Minister for a day, one of the first things I would do would be to ban all homework.
  9. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    [​IMG] Me too!
  10. clear_air

    clear_air New commenter

    And me!!
    For all the reasons mentioned above.
  11. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Sod waiting until then...when I'm a HT I will ban it in my school!

    Besides, when any one of you becomes Prime Minister, can I be Education Secretary please?
  12. Would agree that it doesn't help children progress necessarily in the particular subject but it does have other values.
    Being able to meet deadlines is a skill that children need to develop as is independent working. That is the way I sell it to my class and they understand this.
  13. As others have said, there is very little evidence that it serves any purpose in terms of improving attainment or ability. However, I then think it can be used to develop non-academic skills such as research skills, independence or teamwork - if your school supports you in setting such homework.
    I don't like the way homework can help isolate students who have unsupportive families even more. I have seen projects set for children where those with supportive families have done something wonderful, whilst other children have something that look like it has been thrown together in a last minute panic. The latter children look around at what everyone else has produced and seem embarrassed. It doesn't encourage them to engage. By contrast, you get the parents who essentially do the work FOR the children and therefore the homework doesn't even serve a point in terms of assessing what the children have learnt during the week or term.
    I also dislike homework when well-meaning and supportive parents teach the child things that the child doesn't really understand (largely I'm thinking about maths and things like teaching children in year one how to do column addition, subtraction, etc). I suppose that links to the level of communication between the school and the parents but it's something that bugs me.

  14. Elizabeth I confess to being horrified by your situation at being so micro-managed and controlled in your own professional domain. I would be unable to function and would spend my time (which would probably be a nano-second in that pressure cooker) in fending off the assaults on my integrity and in defending my own and the children's rights to go with the flow and live in the moment- which involves mundaneity, fun, spontaneity, laughter, tears, but ultimately a shared, unscripted brilliance as each moment burns before our eyes like youth's aurora borealis. And boy they progress really well and that is without collaring them rigidly with homework as they trudge home from our fields of light. oops the stafroom wine has got to me today! and boy was our christmas singing, swinging and not an LO or AFL criteria or a WIFFLE or a WAFFLE in sight ... Little else really matters I think.
    I am genuinely curious about this: why is it not up to you to teach in the way you see best in the light of your own experience? who has the time and energy to waste on chasing your tail for you?
    what would happen if you decided to do it differently? why can you just not decide to give it as you feel for your class it would not be of benefit? or you do not teach that way? Who is in any position to tell you otherwise? Apart from that to live a full life in which you do other things, and give yourself the necessary breathing space to refect on your work, when do you find the time and how can anyone impose that requirement on you. Surely the classroom teaching is demanding enough, let alone trying to double your production? yohana
  15. Also dislike it. Aside from reading and tables (which are always done differently in each family anyway) I see little use for it in primary in terms of the weekly english and maths. I do enjoy setting 'thinking tasks' which simply require children to answer a simple question or research 1 single topic. These aren't compulsory. It isn't time consumming, allows for different outcomes and encourages children to talk to their families about what they're learning. Similarly I sometimes set creative homeworks where children can make or design things at home - they get excited about what they have produced and often involve family members.
    To me classic homework is necessary when teaching time doesn't allow children to complete their task (course work for example) or when teachers want to see what children can produce when left to their own devices and resources (project work). I would say that the curriculum reaches this stage at about GCSE and by university level almost all work is done under the student's own steam.
    But I do I agree very much with Devon
    and can see the argument for starting to set homework in Year 8 say. As it is, many schools start setting lots of homework in KS2 as 'practice for secondary school' [​IMG]

  16. Yeh!
    joined while on my PGCE and have followed with interest.[​IMG]
  17. Homework is for practice on skills being learned, as I understand it. What do you think?
  18. slugtrial

    slugtrial New commenter

    Sent out a questionnaire to parents regarding their attitudes to homework 10 years ago. Results: Too much, not enough, too regular (regimented), not regular enough (sometimes on a Tues and Weds, sometimes on a Monday), not enough that encouraged parent help, too much parent help needed... I could go on. Not a pointless exercise as it confirmed what we expected - nobody agrees about homework.
    All my colleagues still hate it. But it keeps parents quiet, especially at Y6 SAT 'revision' time.
  19. I echo the comments already made here - as a teacher and parent I hate it. I never had any homework in primary school and actually looked forward to getting some when I started secondary! I think that it is completely unnecessary at primary school and even in some subjects at secondary school. It is pointless setting homework for the sake of it. I've lost count of the number of times my heart has sunk when creative model making tasks have been set. In fact when my year 7 son came home recently saying his art homework was to make a paper mache 3D model of an aboriginal animal over the weekend, I completely lost the plot and e-mailed his teacher saying he wouldn't be doing it!
  20. Ramjam

    Ramjam New commenter

    That bugs me too. It's an issue because the parents who do that are those who don't come to our maths for parents sessions where we demonstrate how their children are learning.
    I have had several parents who refuse to allow their children to do homework. I always agree that they have the right to do that. My response is simple. I send the tables/ spelling test results home. Usually that results in the parents asking for information on what the spellings/ tables the child should be doing.
    One parent tried to get round the issue by ringing another parent and asking them for the spellings so the child could practise them in secret. The difficulty was that the spellings are differentiated by ability and the tests are done separately.
    Does it have any value? I have evidence that children who do practise tables/ spellings at home learn them better and use them more regularly in work than those who don't.

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