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homework in different countries

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by purpleapple, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. purpleapple

    purpleapple New commenter

    Hello,
    I am carrying out a research task on homework in different countries. Could I briefly ask these questions? If you answer these, it would be great and I really do appreciate your time :)
    • How often do you set homework?
    • Does it vary for each class/year group (which receives the most)?
    • Are they mostly electronic- or paper-based tasks?
    • How are they marked - teacher, pupil or peer marking?
    • What is the recommended length of time for each homework? Is there a maximum overall limit (taking into account different subjects)?
    • Are parents involved in the homework?
    • Is there a school-wide policy or is it up to the teacher?
    • What subject and which ages do you teach?
    Thanks a million
     
  2. purpleapple

    purpleapple New commenter

    Hello,
    I am carrying out a research task on homework in different countries. Could I briefly ask these questions? If you answer these, it would be great and I really do appreciate your time :)
    • How often do you set homework?
    • Does it vary for each class/year group (which receives the most)?
    • Are they mostly electronic- or paper-based tasks?
    • How are they marked - teacher, pupil or peer marking?
    • What is the recommended length of time for each homework? Is there a maximum overall limit (taking into account different subjects)?
    • Are parents involved in the homework?
    • Is there a school-wide policy or is it up to the teacher?
    • What subject and which ages do you teach?
    Thanks a million
     
  3. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    As a general rule, I have found that "British" schools or "English-speaking schools" generally follow the same guidelines as schools in the UK. I am currently teaching at a school in Qatar and I set my Year 5 class four homeworks each week. Some spellings to learning, a few pages of Maths problems ( we use the NHM scheme), a apage of Geography or Science: this is the kind of thing they get during the course of the week. A homework should, in theory, take them about half an hour to forty minutes and they should also do at least half an hour of reading. Parents are quite supportive and usually sign their child's homework planner.
     
  4. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    The range for homework goes from about 15 mins to 2 hours, depending on age. As Hippo suggests, about 30 mins by year 5, this extands to perhaps 2 hours by year 10.
     
  5. yasimum

    yasimum New commenter

    I think homework in primary school is a waste of time and energy. Children need to go home, rest, indulge in leisure pursuits and spend relaxed time with their family and not have mum screaming at them to finish their homework or do it for them.
    I don't 'set' homework as such but encourage parents to read with their child for pleasure on a daily basis, research on individual projects (mainly because most school computers suck and are slow), try to put concepts into real life situations (we want to make double the quantity of cupcakes so if we need 3/4 of a cup of sugar for one cake how much would we need for two?) and engage their children in conversation daily (most don't).
    I have been in schools however, where I have set busy work to waste time at home at the direction of the principal and I have been at parent info nights, as a parent, and have felt the wrath of fellow parents when I voice my opinion. (One particular occasion springs to mind when my daughter was in year 1 when I suggested that perhaps the load of rubbish they were setting for these babies maybe wasn't the most productive use of time, when I felt a thousand knives in my back.)
    Sadly, she starts high school tomorrow so I suppose I can't get away with it any longer.
     
  6. MisterMaker

    MisterMaker Occasional commenter

    Back when I was a teacher, rather than whatever it is I'm supposed to do nowadays [​IMG]
     
  7. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Pretty much the same here, MM.
    I feel as alienated by the parents of the putatively Harvard-bound (and definitely treadmill-tied) 6-year-old as by the mummies and daddies who want to raise their expensive designer toys innocent of anything resembling toil, risk or frustration.
    Hard to know if we get the balance right, either as parents or as pedagogues. Here am I with little miss nearly-15, whose admirable mum, a true lifelong learner, is away studying. Breakfast, brunch and lunch have all been served to madaminha as she dealt with some insultingly facile coursework on the Reichstag Fire. Now we are cosily ensconced, central heating waaay up, rain pattering on the shutters, in front of the TV - she watching 'Hollywood Rapper Wives', me typing this drivel. Surely we should both be engaging, together, with George Eliot?
    Great post, yazza, one of your best. Certainly the last thing the bunnies need after their 7 hours of compulsory collective training in the cause of capitalism, or socialisation-for-mulicultural-society or whatever, is another school task.
    One more topic I wish I had greater courage to explore outspokenly in the workplace rather than just here.
    Huckleberry Finn 'lit out for the territory'. Where, pray, these days, is that?
     
  8. Arepa

    Arepa New commenter

    Yasimum and Sr. Dude. I am in total agreement with both you regarding homework as a waste of time. Indeed, I banned it for students in Primary and Middle School. Like Yasimum, I encouraged parents to read to their children instead. Your views confirm my experience that most homework at these levels is simply busy work, repetitive and boring. It does nothing to promote learning. In addition, particularly in lower primary, I discovered that the parents usually did it. Surprisingly, I faced almost no parental opposition. I was helped in this by the horrible traffic situation in Bogota. My students spent so much time on the bus that it seemed rather unreasonable to give them homework when they returned home exhausted after hours on the bus. My earliest bus pickup, for example, was a 6 year old at 5:15 am and she often returned home after 6:00 pm. Homework, I felt, was not justifiable in these circumstances and parents agreed. In addition, many of my parents did not speak English and were unable to help their children with assignments. Consequently, I extended class time and required all teachers to give work to be done during class. That way the teacher was there to explain and help the students. Only if a student did not complete the work in class did they have to take it home. Again, parents seemed pleased. So was I, as student grades and understanding improved and the number of students failing because of missing assignments decreased considerably. My problem was the teachers who felt that since homework had been given to them as children and they had to suffer through it, it should be passed on to the new generation.
     
  9. yasimum

    yasimum New commenter

    Thank God there are other believers out there! Sometimes I feel like I am rattling around as Neville no friends! The ludicrous thing I find is that there are often murmurings about the Reggio Emilia approach and how wonderful it is etc., etc. Then what happens? Niente.
    I often ask at staff meetings whether we believe what research and years of experience tell us about how young children learn substantively. The answer is invariably, "Oh yes but.....the parents, the NAPLAN!!" I know it sounds dramatic, but I often despair at the state of our education system to the point of depression sometimes. When I started on the coat tails of the Whitlam government, schools were exciting and dynamic places to be for both staff and students. Now they are rigid, parent driven, anxiety laden places where children are afraid to make mistakes rather than encouraged to do so. No down time is allowed either within or outside of school as we have to make the parents happy and do well in the NAPLAN so our school looks good on the MySchool website and the boss can climb another depressing rung in the ladder.
    My wonderful mentors of the past would be weeping or turning in their grave as they observe what we are doing to our children.
     
  10. yasimum

    yasimum New commenter

    By the way, sorry opening poster that I haven't given set answers to your questions but if you are doing some research, it is also important to get other perspectives I think.
     
  11. SMT dude

    SMT dude New commenter

    Yeah, but this one stays in the closet for now, yazza, runnin' scared and fearing for his plump backside like anyone else in charge of a school these days.
    I do have a document somewhere entitled 'TEN BELIEFS I hold that make it unthinkable I should be a Head Teacher in 2011'
    It's more than ten now, the number keeps increasing, as with the recent epiphany when I realised I was agnostic about application forms.
    For the original poster, our younger rabbits (KS1 in britspeak) might do 15 minutes an evening going over something, but the school's policy is that reading with a parent (in either of the school's two main languages or in any other one spoken at home) is a priority. It might be as much as 20 minutes to half an hour a day for KS2. Relatively 'lite' and some of the more anxiously aspirational parents make their child do more.
    After that, as Wordsworth tells us,
    and in KS 3 and 4 they may be at it for an hour or more every night - but there are big variations, for example the Maths people like their victims to have a ten-minute fiddle with the subject every evening to keep the brain ticking over, while the English and History gurus will be on the rhythm of the weekly project or investigation, and the Scientists still enjoy a good old fashioned content-based Test at the end of a unit of work. The head of year has the thankless task of ensuring fair play and a balanced weekly HW timetable that students and parents can understand.
    There are also huge differences between individual students in terms of the amount of time they need, or are prepared to put in, to satisfy themselves, their teachers and their parents. At one end of the range you'll have the don't-give-a-toss boy winging it across the thin ice, and at the other the obssessive girl drafting and redrafting her work in pursuit of perfection. When these two get the same GCSE results, there are wry smiles in some quarters, handwringing and tears in others.
    Then comes the Sixth Form, and whether you are at an IB or A level outfit, the idealistic view is that you have chosen your intellectual interests in life and will want of your own volition to spend hour after fascinating hour exploring the intricate wonders of Chemistry or the complexities of Literature. Me, I still cling to this tattered flag.
    A more cynical view is that as a sixth former you are now a raw recruit to capitalism's middle management regiment, and already you are condemned to the cycle which will last through your adult existence, of not quite enough intellectual stimulus, not quite enough leisure, not quite enough remuneration, not quite enough freedom, not quite enough love, not quite enough health and not quite enough time.
     
  12. yasimum

    yasimum New commenter

    I am not so naive to imagine that many people would come out of the closet but I am also idealistic enough to hope one day that someone may give a Lenny Henry type speech crying, "Please just let us do our job!"
    I have proven to myself that I am a **** administrator as I butted heads with parents so many times it was just exhausting but I am OK with that as it is not what I love. I do know though that the practicalities of living and keeping a family schooled, clothed and fed entails keeping a job. Iam lucky that I do not have a mortgage and can afford to rub people up the wrong way.

     
  13. yasimum

    yasimum New commenter

    What I have witnessed over the last couple of days seems to me to support wht I have always believed. It is always nerve wracking whilst you are waiting ot see if your theory looks likes panning out, especially when it is your own child in question.
    I stubbornly resisted homework, any formal work prior to starting school and not studying to the national tests. I have a child who is academically quite able but couldn't care less unless it is something she particularly loves. She isn't lazy as such just a potterer and a perfectionist (read slooooow to finish). Always done well in the tests without prodding and spoon feeding but trying to get anything done at home - nightmare. She wants to be a a vet and I have encouraged her but cautiously as I know how high the ATAR is and how rigorous the course is.
    Yesterday I picked her up from school and we took the dogs for a walk. Whilst sitting in her favourite cafe, she said, "Right Mum we had better get going, I have loads of work to do tonight."
    To say I was surprised would be an understatement. She nagged me all night about notes needing to be sent back ASAP (she has set her sights on the Gold Dove pin which is earned after a series of merits). SHE was nagging ME! Ah it was lovely and I came to the conclusion that she is just ready to drive her own learning now andmotivate herself as she now sees the need. Yes it could be first week back enthusiasm but she has never been afflicted with that before.
    Kids will learn, read, organise, move into the abstract when they are ready and until that time, all the pushing and nagging in the world will have no effect except to give the parents an ulcer. Let them take their time and 'cook' and then it is easy rather than unpleasant and stressful.
     

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