Last night, I had the opportunity to participate in the #edchatph Twitter chat where we discussed the topic of homework: pros, cons, kinds, less homework, no homework, re-imagined homework. As with any conversation around homework, you found educators on both sides of the topic. This blog post is intended to highlight some of the great ideas that were shared during our chat. Our first question focused around why there is a debate around homework, and @teacherasleader posted this great list.
I think too many educators struggle with the idea of getting rid of homework, because it has been so ingrained for too long in the educational world, that it is hard for them to let go. In my opinion, it is also directly influenced by "we have always done it that way" mentality. Pran Patel made a great point that many teachers assign homework due to policy, and because of pedagogical gain.
Research has proven that homework in primary school has an effect of ZERO when it comes to student achievement according to John Hattie. (Read More Here) He goes on to say that we should not get rid of it all together, even if it is not making much of a difference, but rather find ways to improve on it.
Ryan Persaud mentioned that he got rid of homework in elementary school, and asked that students take time to play and read for 20 minutes at night. In fact, this was a common theme throughout the chat.
Tonya Gilchrist says that the only homework she assigns is for her students to read books that they love. And, Mark Levine sees reading as the "essential homework". In my mind, they are both building a "Culture of Readers".
If homework is going to be assigned, then it should be a tool to assess mastery of a concept. After reviewing the homework, if that mastery has not occurred, then educators must use it as a review during small group interventions to help students better understand and develop the skills need to master the concept.
Ideally, we need to ensure that homework is meaningful and purposeful for our students. Alfonso Mangubat posted that "homework should help students reflect on their learning, take stock of ideas gained, and connect it to new ones."
What about grading homework? Grading homework is not an equitable process in schools, as so many kids today go home to empty houses, and have little to no support with their doing their homework. Tyler Arnold made a truly powerful point, that if a kid doesn't do their homework for any reason, we penalize them. How is this spurring a love of learning in our students?
If we are going to continue the practice of assigning homework, we need to find some new and creative ways to engage students in the learning process. Teachers As Leaders mentioned ideas from Kathleen Cushman's book 'Fires In The Mind' that give some great alternatives to traditional homework.
If homework must be assigned, then I am all for homework that gets parents and children talking about what they have learned. Homework could simply require a child to spend 5 to 10 minutes a night talking to their parents about what they learned that day in school. Better yet, we could ask students to go home and read a specific book, or article, and then discuss it with their parents. Linda Edwards goes even further as she uses technology to allow students to record what they learned for their parents, and then the parents are able to respond via Flipgrid.
At the end of our chat, Lauren Porosoff share some question that parents can ask students about their school day. This reproducible is from her book 'Empower Your Students: Tools to Inspire a Meaningful School Experience.'
The purpose of this post, was not to get you to stop giving homework, but rather to get you thinking about whether or not it is beneficial for students, and how can we improve on our homework practices.
I would love to hear your thoughts about assigning homework. Please share them in the comment section below.
There were so many great things shared last night, that I highly recommend that you visit #edchatPH on Twitter and explore the entire conversation.