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.