Monday, December 12, 2011

EDvent Calendar: Day 13 (Homework is broken)

Three interesting articles to get you thinking about how we use homework. Aside from the fact that anything related to learning that is called 'work' turns students off, there is a mounting body of evidence to show that most homework does more harm than good.

1. Here's a really interesting interview with Richard Walker (associate professor at the University of Sydney) who has summarised the issues surrounding homework in his book 'Reforming Homework'.

2. "Armed with neuroscience, self-analysis and common sense, some of New York City’s most competitive high schools, famed for their Marine-like mentality when it comes to homework, have begun to lighten the load for fear of crushing their teenage charges."

3. From the Best Evidence Synthesis:
  • "Cooper reported cases where homework generated negative effects for students when their parents brought conflicting instructional techniques to bear on students’ homework activities." Make sure homework is designed and delivered in a way that works to align and promote links between home and school contexts.
  • "In the light of much research showing that homework can be potentially negative unless carefully structured and managed by teachers, Epstein reported on the research-based development of the TIPS (Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork) process of interactive homework (Epstein, 2001)." Make homework as interactive and engaging as possible.
  • "Alton-Lee and Nuthall (1990) found homework opportunity to be more strongly related to the learning of intermediate students than whole-class, small group or individual learning opportunities in class in social studies." Make sure the homework is as differentiated as possible. 
  • "In a later study of intermediate students' learning in an integrated science and social studies unit, Alton-Lee and Nuthall (1998) found curriculum-relevant homework tasks to play a critical role in enabling working memory to consolidate in-class learning before forgetting occurred." Focus on reinforcing learning from the in-class lessons, not homework for the sake of it, or repetitive, boring drills.

No comments:

Post a Comment