When Homework Can Become Harmful For Students
Homework is the staple of every secondary school class. In the American educational institutions, homework is generally seen as practice and reinforcement to the work performed during class instruction. However, is homework always a benefit to the educational process? Are there situations in which homework may actually stifle the educational process? Certainly, all adults can recall nightmares and horror stories from their educational careers times in which homework was something to be dreaded.
When time is wasted in the classroom
There are times when homework is assigned due to classroom instruction time being wasted in disciplining and useless chatting. In these cases, teachers are assigning homework due to distractions being present in the class. Assigning homework in this case can be perceived as a punishment to otherwise hard-working students and a reward to ineffective classroom management.
Additionally, for students that are struggling in an area that is not being addressed in the classroom, assigning practice work to do at home will be frustrating. There may not be a parent in the home that is equipped to assist with the homework and without benefit of adequate classroom support; the struggling student simply falls even further behind.
Some schools have a homework policy in which a pre-determined amount of homework is expected to be assigned. For example, in many schools it is common to have 20 to 30 minutes assigned per grade number. This is assigned regardless of learning need and in many cases serves no educational purpose. This is simply busy work and causes frustration among strong students.
Excessive Work Time is Detremental
For students that are already working effectively, are strong students, or involved in a large number of extracurricular activities, the homework may prove to be a disincentive to performing in the classroom. Generally speaking, extracurricular activities can be used as a carrot to drive a strong classroom performance. However, if homework proves to be too much of a burden, and the extracurricular activities become limited as a result, classroom performance will likewise suffer.
For all of these reasons, homework needs to be assigned with some key guidelines in mind in order to gain a valid benefit from the assigned work:
- Homework should be to support, not replace classroom instruction
- Homework should serve a valid purpose not simply be busy work
- Homework should be assigned in a manner that is not a disincentive to outside activities.
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