Sunday, 13 January 2013


Does Homework have an educational value?

It was no surprise that this topic attracted a lot strong views but what was surprising (for me anyhow) was the strength of feeling against  traditional homework routines. It was generally agreed that a number of myths surround homework:

1. The setting of homework is the mark of a good teacher.
2. Homework promotes independent study/learning
3. Homework provides an necessary home-school link

The consensus seems to be that the setting of traditional type homework task are generally no more that time fillers. Homework is set because teachers feel that parents and school leaders expect it to be set, not because pupils need it. It does not promote independent study as children are compelled to complete it in a specified manner and quite often they learn to resent independent study. Many participants also resented the fact that the needs of the school came first in their relationship with their children and would be happier if they , as parents, could decide on evening activities for their children.

Effective Homework

A discussion on 'effective homework tasks' developed and it was interesting to read the types of activities that are being set

* designing new chocolate bars
* Facebook group discussions
* Optional maths puzzles
* Blogging - Learning journal
* Using LNI or Edmodo to put all homework activities online

A collaborative document was hastily set up to collect ideas on what 'Effective Homework' looks like and what our guiding principles should be when assigning a homework task. You can view it and add ideas here.

Selected Tweets

Below are selected tweets from the discussion. A full transcript of the discussion is available here.

Would we ask most adults to work from 5pm to 8pm most evenings - repeating stuff they did during day? ~ @computing_teach

Homework can be so generic, leaving little room for differentiation, not to mention stressful for SEN pupils, major de-motivator! ~ @MrsAMcCrory

I liked a teacher who didn't just give homework but gave you something to think about! ~ @donn00

Surely if a pupil is enthused about a topic you have been teaching they would go home and further their knowledge? ~ @bcripps078

As a parent I'm dreading t thought of my son starting school and getting hwk! Wld prefer to choose how I spend my time with him! ~ @kmi_edu

read somewhere that traditionally teachers wanted to control students home environment as well as classroom ~ @johnmayo

Found in ks3 maths, lots of hw needed to cover course. In ICT, plenty just love Scratch and don't
need to be asked ~ @computing_teach

Homework is still very relevant and useful although we will need to update our views, things like
Edmodo etc can greatly help ~ @keenan_robbie

too many home works are just time fillers and it turns students off work at home. It
needs to challenge ~ @PeadarHynes

[Homework has] no value...source of stress for families, pain for teachers.. With range of abilities in class, v hard 2 strike balance 2 suit all ~ @CathyabcCathy

I had a teacher who gave tons of HW so seen to be "a good teacher" - so bad in classroom only way we learnt was doing HW ~ @johnmayo

We may need to change views. many think that if their child has no homework they are not learning
and you're not doing your job ~ @keenan_robbie

We set easy tasks because teachers have done that for years, and because we haven't time to mark better stuff!~ @computing_teach

Really need to rethink homework. It seems to be one of the major stresses for families.
Is greater use of ICT the answer? ~ @s7teach

I tend to suggest small tasks on our class Facebook groups. Committed students do the work & others learn from their shared work ~ @camaxwell

I give optional maths puzzles on class blog every night using puzzles from 7Puzzle Blog. Lots of kids love these. ~ @seomraranga

When I was a student I never saw the point of homework and I see it even less as a teacher. ~ @dmurray742

Can't wait for homework in a few weeks! Design & make a new chocolate bar & wrapping!! Turns into a chocolate feast! ~ @MrMalcontent

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