Almost every education system in the world has a practice of assigning homework. From the first grader to the undergrads, everyone has to do some homework which is made mandatory. Homework assigned has nothing to do with the time a student allots for self study. It is necessary to segregate self studying or studying at home and homework. Many proponents of homework tend to mix the two up and the result is an unwarranted confusion and certainly a flawed argument. Homework is task assigned by the teachers or by schools, colleges and universities. Self studying is a completely different exercise where a student studies without being compelled to do so and one can study anything depending on the needs or the desire of the student. With homework, one has to do a specific task on a specific day and it doesn’t matter if the student wants to do it or not.
Like most practices in any education system, homework has some pros and cons. There is a need for homework but there is also a need to refine the system to make it perfect. Because right now, homework is necessary but the practice is flawed.
Here are the homework pros and cons that you should be accustomed with.
1. Homework is necessary to impart education. Depending on the grade or year in school, college or university, there is only a certain amount of time that a student can spend with a teacher. Then there are many subjects to be taught until a point in time when a student becomes a master in only one discipline, which is the time he or she would have to study only one subject. Till then, it is almost impossible to shed enough light or impart enough education in a given subject within the school hours. There is a need to study more if one has to acquire enough knowledge. It is this need that compels most educations systems to make space for assigning homework. The advantage is basically that homework allows a student to learn more, to know more and one can then have a chance to get better in their academics.
2. Homework allows a student to learn at his or her own pace. Every child or student doesn’t have the same level of intelligence. Some kids may learn quickly and some may take time. Some kids may grasp things quickly and some kids may forget what they have learnt in school. Every child has a unique way of learning things and thus a standard education system or teaching approach may not be equally effective for all students. Homework allows students to relearn or to ensure that what they have learned or read is understood.
3. Homework allows time for better teaching at school. It has to be noted that schools have limited time and not everything can be covered in the classroom if everything has to be touched upon by the teacher. If students are given homework to get accustomed with the basics, then the teachers can actually touch the more complicated contexts of a subject and then help the students to learn them effectively. In many ways, homework improves the education system.
4. Homework is essential because students need to become independent. When there are teachers around, students ask questions or get issues clarified but they don’t have a free run with their imagination. It is the open ended questioning and reasoning that would instill the desired education in any student. That can happen when a student spends time on his or her own doing the homework. Also, as there isn’t a teacher around during homework, a student is more likely to look for answers on their own. In any case, a student has to study on his or her own to prepare for exams and when one would venture into higher studies. In colleges or universities, professors would not explain everything and they certainly would not have time to provide the foundational knowledge. That has to be acquired by a student and one way to do it is homework. Not every child develops a habit of studying on his or her own. Assigning homework can instill that habit and the students would be more independent as they grow up.
5. Homework helps in the growth of the brain. The more a person reads, learns new things and questions what he or she is learning, the brain tends to work faster and smarter. Homework also instills discipline in students. They learn to set a routine for their evenings and they get trained to adhere to deadlines.
1. There are some disadvantages of homework. Kids are pressed for time, they are often assigned far too much work to be done at home and they end up being stressed. It is not desirable to have kids stressed when they should actually want to learn and should also have some fun from time to time. This shortcoming is not exactly that of the concept of homework but the practice that certain teachers or schools have. Homework has to be limited. It cannot be all work and no play for a student. Homework has to be structured well and it should leave enough space and time for the students to play and have some fun back home. Too much stress would undo the learning process. What should be done is a system must be developed to limit the load of homework on students. That should be done depending on the grade or age of the student and also the nature of the homework. Teachers should coordinate with one another to ensure that everyone doesn’t assign homework on the same day. A student would be crushed if he or she has to attend to ten homework assignments in a day or two. Also, a first grader or third grader should not be asked to spend an hour or two hours over homework. There is a theory that says ten minutes of homework for the first grader is ideal and an incremental ten minutes for every grade upward should be the practice. In that way, someone in the sixth grade would spend about an hour on homework which is good and someone in college would have to spend two hours on homework which is anyway essential to prepare for graduation or for higher degrees.
2. Homework can become a way out for lazy or inefficient teachers. It can also be a solution for teachers who are inept or are unwilling to make an effort to make the students understand something. It is not uncommon for teachers to tell the students that they have to learn something on their own back home, not because they need to do it but because the teacher doesn’t want to do his or her job.
3. Homework can have an impact on family time. Parents or families often need to make their plans according to the homework schedule of the children in the home. This is not desirable. However, if a good system of assigning homework is endorsed and practiced, as mentioned above, then this should not be a problem. Any family can always make time for half an hour or an hour for the kids to get their homework done.