It wouldn’t be a new academic year without a rowdy Twitter homework debate would it? This time it was a former professional footballer and TV presenter villain discussing whether or not homework should be banned.
Yes, as you can imagine, it was only a matter of time before someone vocalised their thoughts and feelings on the pointlessness of the torture on children that is homework. This time, it was Gary Lineker who opined against the after-school extended learning:
“Seems an awful lot of parents agree on the pointlessness and stressful nature of homework. Kids should be allowed to play and enjoy home-life with their parents without the divisiveness of work they have plenty of time to do at school. There’s plenty of time to be an adult.”
This was picked up by Piers Morgan who, shockingly, disagreed with Lineker and pointed towards the fact we’re behind China in education tables and made jabs at lazy parents...
The difficulty with this homework debate is that everyone has an opinion and quite rightly so, because homework does, has and will impact all of us at some point. What’s frustrating is that when these opinions are ill informed without substantiated research to back them up it’s schools and teachers who feel the wrath of parents anger as a result of feuds such as these on Twitter.
A lot of parents’ disdain with homework stems from primary school - there is no proof that homework set during these earlier years of education helps to advance a students’ academic performance. Because of this, many people don’t see how value can be taken from students completing homework that eats into quality family time, which is understandable.
However, in actual fact the completion of homework at this level helps students’ inquiry skills and supports revision as well as helps prepare students for secondary school and outlines from a young age a good work ethic.
Quality over Quantity
More attention should be paid to the types of homework being set, because it’s important to note that at any stage in education the only type of homework that is beneficial is a task that is well thought out, purposeful and of a high quality. Setting homework for the sake of it is not only a time drain for students, it’s a waste of teachers’ time.
Of course, teachers are under immense amounts of pressures that mean setting, chasing and grading homework can fall by the wayside but systems and initiatives can be put in place to help make this process easier, so as to ensure the setting of consistently good homework.
It’s easy to point the finger of blame at teachers and homework for students’ unhappiness, but in actual fact - when education is constantly changing and developing in terms of grading and teaching and learning techniques, it seems viable to believe that the success of homework is assessed, and in the majority of schools (even those who have changed the name of homework) they conclude the process to be worthwhile.
Keeping our students’ brains engaged and busy after the school day is paramount to their success and helps to foster curiosity. If you feel as though there is a real issue with homework in your school the solution is not to ban it, because it does have its purpose, instead it’s to evaluate and actually think about what needs to be different and what could improve the current situation. Nothing good ever comes from simply stating a problem, we must also find the solution.