Maybe it’s because it’s Friday and this has been one action packed week, but I am FIRED UP. I’m fired up about the amount of out-of-school homework we give our students, especially in math class.
Casey Rutheford had a great idea the other night. He did a Twitter search for “math homework” and examined the results. Go ahead and take a look for yourself. You may not be shocked at all, but reading tweet after tweet of math homework making students cry should make you, as an educator, want to sob. Additionally, with impeccably good timing, John Stevens gave us all something to think about in regards to the homework debate. The entire post is worth every second of time you can spend with it. He highlights the student voices in this conversation. Those voices are the ones we often aren’t really listening to. He reminds us that there is a whole child to develop, not just a math brain.
The big question I have for my fellow educators is: are you taking the time to listen to your students’ voices? Are you considering the education of the whole child, especially during the hours when they aren’t in school? What purpose does the homework serve? Is it really fulfilling that purpose? Do we really feel students do better as a result of homework, or are there other factors that play a much bigger role?
I’m not saying don’t ever assign homework. I just don’t think homework needs to be a knee-jerk reaction to the end of a math lesson.
Interestingly, I did my masters work on that very subject. One of the questions I asked was, “Is homework–in any discipline–valuable?” The answer is yes… BUT ONLY if the homework has value in achieving a specific end and not just for repetition and practice. From following your bogs, Megan, I could honestly say that your students do not need to do homework because of your instructional strategies. Your students are getting real world application in real time. Who needs homework?
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