Every person who has attended school knows what the meaning of the word “ homework” is. Homework is school related assignments that teachers give their students to be completed outside the mandatory hours spent inside the classroom. There are many kids of assignments depending on the subject matter and the need and may include reading, writing or completing specific tasks. The main objective of assigning homework is to help a student increase his or her knowledge, abilities and/or skills through preparatory schoolwork and practice. Homework also serves other purposes other than providing adequate practice time for students. According to Alanne and Macgregor (2009), homework improves a student’s rate of participation in school. It also helps develop a student’s personality early on by providing the student an avenue for taking responsibilities personally at the formative phase of his character development and increase their level of confidence and competence. Homework also provides the student the avenue to interact with his peers and develop competence in working within a team set-up. Studies have also shown the positive effect on parent-student relations of homework. When homework is shared between the parent and the child, the importance of education is re-emphasized and a closer bond is formed because of the interaction. Similarly, homework provides students with greater interaction with teachers, which could help them understand their learning objectives better. To complete the three-party interaction, homework provides parents and teachers a common basis for evaluating a student’s performance and helps understand areas of strength and areas where improvement is desired. In all these purposes, homework underscores the rigors of high quality education and a school that effectively utilizes homework also states their attention to providing the highest quality of education to their student as possible
Homework Myths and Realities
One of the reasons why homework is given is because homework increases the preparedness of a student which in turn makes him perform better in school. Thus it is said that the more preparation a child has, the better for him. Studies have shown that in the right amounts, homework does boost the ability of students in the classroom. In 2004, a study conducted by researchers from Duke University found out that there is a positive correlation between how a student performs and what the student achieves in school to the assignment of homework that the student does. The same study showed that the volume of homework given and the performance of students in the classroom are negatively correlated. The study therefore confirms that a student who does his homework does well in school, but the more homework he does, the less the effect on his performance is. This finding is similar to the concept of marginal returns in the field of economics.
The ability of homework to contribute to personal and interpersonal relationship building is also a myth and at best is a subjective (if not idealized) assessment of the effects of homework and relationships with family, friends, teachers and with one’s self. Again according to Alanne and Macgregor (2009), when the amount of homework falls on the excessive, there is no more time left for social interactions. Family relations as well as relationships with peers suffer and as a result may negatively affect the formation of a student’s character. Many critics believe that students can learn through other forms of preparatory study and that homework is just one of them. Therefore the idea that homework fosters character development is still a widely accepted myth.
In addition, the supposed effect of homework on the development of a child’s character by assigning him responsibilities may also be considered a myth. In reality, students may not be able to cope up with excessive amounts of homework. When this happens, the students may resort to cheating through copying from classmates or by creating layers of excuses to avoid punishment or any other sanction from teachers or parents. The pressure caused by the voluminous homework tasks may instil the wrong work ethics to children and may skew their personal views on accomplishments and culpability. In a study conducted by the American Psychological Association on student behaviour as it relates to the assignment of homework to student, they found out that the pressure of having too much homework skew the understand if student regarding education. Students are influenced to believe that they will be rewarded for doing well in class by submitting their homework and accomplishing them regardless of the process by which they were accomplished or the consequences of their actions, instead of them focusing on the reasons why homework is given and the ultimate objective of opening up their understanding of identifying and solving issues.
It is also a myth that homework can improve the relationship of parents and students. According to educators, homework is a way of involving the student and the parent in the educational process. The philosophy is of course ideal, parents ought to be involved in the development of their children. However studies have shown that parents create confusion for students with excessive participation or involvement in a child’s homework. Also, students become over reliant on their parents for guidance when making assignments to the point that they lose the value of committing to working on the tasks themselves to prepare them for the following school day. In addition, in multiple children families, parents get involved with those that have more homework, usually the eldest child, making the next in line children less of a recipient in terms of guidance and attention from parents. This creates confusion and dissent among younger children, on top of the over reliance in creates in older children.
While the benefits of homework are somewhat a mantra that educators around the world has followed, it cannot be denied that there should be extensive research conducted to ascertain he affectivity of homework, the type of homework, and the volume assigned to students on the student’s academic performance as well as on the actual quality of education that an institution dispenses. If careful empirical studies are done to this effect, then these myths and harsh realities of assigning homework can be corrected, which would benefit the students, parents, teacher and the whole world.
Alanne, N and R Macgregor. Homework: What are the upsides and downsides? 10 July 2009. 2 July 2013
Hart, Lucy. Does Homework Have a Greater Negative or Positive Effect on Students? 2013. 2 July 2013
Wikipedia. Homework. 2013. 2 July 2013