A child’s lament: Why can’t our teachers just teach us everything we need to know here at school? We are young and busy kids of the 21st century. Academics are fine but we have lot more to do like play, socialize, be physically active, keep up with technology, read and hinge ourselves to a hobby. In short, we don’t have time for homework and we really don’t like it. We need freedom!

Poor students! Yes, the children are the only people who live and understand what is going on in a classroom. Unfortunately, they are also the only ones most often blamed and least often heard. By now, you must be thinking that I am going to advocate for these students; let me remind you – I am a teacher 🙂

It’s time to look at homework from all perspectives. Why do we give homework if the students don’t like it and it’s no fun for the teachers too? It is an equal task for teachers to assign, check and grade them. So why do we have home assignments? As an educator, I think at some point or the other, we all attempt to answer it. Do share your opinion in the comment section. Now, allow me to share:

  1. Reinforcement – Homework reinforces the concepts taught in a classroom. The more you work with them, the more likely you are to actually learn them. Our school time tables are usually designed in a way that the students hardly get any time to reflect. One period after another. When students learn in the classroom, they are using their short-term or working memory. On leaving the classroom, the information in the working memory is replaced by the topic in the next class. In few minutes the entire set up is changed, every variable in the classroom gets a new value.  Have you met your student in a new setting, for example in a park or a mall? Do they respond in a similar way as they do in the classroom? Definitely NO; Even classmates behave differently inside and outside the school. But once we have a strong bond and meetings are regular, we see very less variation in the behavior. Gradually we become independent of the environment. Similarly, students must regularly interact with knowledge in the different environments. They need to access information in ways that are relevant to their world and they must practice their skills in different situations. Education researcher Professor John Hattie, who has ranked various influences on student learning and achievement, told the BBC in 2014 “The worst thing you can do with homework is give kids projects; the best thing you can do is reinforce something you’ve already learned.” And I want you to remember this “Homework is not a punishment, rather it is a reinforcement.”
  2. Parent’s involvement and habit formation–  Homework gives parents a chance to see what their children are learning in school. Most of the time, children only open their school bag when there is a homework. In such cases, homework becomes the only reason for parents to interact with their children concerning education. I have observed a pattern in the graph of parents involvement against the standard in which their children study. The slope is mostly negative and finally, in higher grades, the parents are completely off the track, they completely miss the bus. But if the teachers are consistent, the students form a habit.

    The graph has been used for representation purpose only. It is not an actual data.

    A good habit that can transform them into independent and life long learners. Over the period of time, students learn the hard lesson that some things in life come with no options; it has to be done. Even if one doesn’t wish to, one has to get married one day!

  3. Have the edge over – Homework encourages a learner to explore subjects more fully than classroom time permits. The acid test is seeing whether you truly understand the material and can do the work on your own. This is especially true with mathematics. When I solve problems of maths in the classroom, every student believes that s/he has understood the underlying concept and they will be able to solve more problems of that nature. But in reality, every student may not. They miss out on the ‘unseen’ steps. Homework, in such cases, help them to come out of their false belief and put them in real action. So whenever I assign a homework, I ask my students to do it themselves and if they are unable to do it, I accept the original and incorrect work. It helps me to modify my teaching strategy to facilitate better learning. It works just like the formative assessments. In science classes, homework is critically important. Students see concepts in a whole new light; most of the time, they are asked to write what they observe. Open ended questions light curiosity and motivate the learners to stretch their imagination. They come out with creative ideas and more follow up questions. And those extra minutes and hours logged at home help a learner to gain confidence in the subject.
  4. It’s fun too – Homework gives an excuse to a student to use gadgets, surf the internet, download and print resources. It helps your child learn to look out for resources and put them to use wisely. No child in my class is away from video games, nor am I. So we found an interesting way to engage ourselves. I design games for them and they play at home. So our new way of engaging with devices at home is through homework. I am very thankful to the creators of quizizz.com

I would strongly recommend you to create your own quiz on the platform. I can share one of my quizzes right away. Go to join.quizizz.com and use code 009534. Enjoy a 15 question quiz on basic addition and subtraction meant for my 5th graders. The code expires on 30th August, so hurry up!

In our next post, we would like to discuss more about homework. If you have any thing to share, please do comment. Thanks for your time and enjoy the videos: