When we don’t follow ‘the research’

My school recently hosted a webinar by Alfie Kohn on the topic of homework.  Kohn is highly critical of the practice homework finding no study that shows benefit for homework either academically or in ‘self management.’

I spent most of my time nodding my head.

I know homework for younger children has no academic benefit or even any non-academic benefit. Yet here I am  getting homework ready for the week ahead, my school expects me to set homework, many of the parents want homework, even the children ask about homework.

Despite setting fairly open-ended tasks, something that the kids can put as little or as much effort into as they want.  I still can’t help think it’s busy work.

I would want them to read, what they wanted and as much as they wanted, and then to talk about their reading with their parents.

I would want the kids out exploring Singapore.

Baking and cooking, helping to prepare the family meal.

And dare I say it, playing.

But homework is only one small part of a whole lot of things we do in school that have no basis in research. For all the talk about not wanting to innovate before seeing ‘the research’  it’s amazing how many practices we keep doing despite ‘the research’ telling us it is time to abandon that practice.

One thought on “When we don’t follow ‘the research’

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  1. Reblogged this on Innovation in Learning and commented:
    When will we find a school ‘brave’ enough to challenge this practice? All schools I have taught in use the same reason, ‘parents want homework’. This may have been the case more than a decade ago but I am now hearing parents complain that their child is being worn down by the amount of ‘homework’. With the increase in assessment tasks homework has now taken on a new dimension. Two layers now exist. The nightly set tasks following the day’s lessons and then the assessment tasks that regularly punctuate the weekly timetable. I know from my own child’s experience that this generally means weekends are taken up with completing assessment tasks. It is madness and we are doing our children a great disservice. There is no love of learning. It is like slave labour to a god called HSC!


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