Homework is like chores: it’s a traditional activity that most children hate. Since the 1950's, when pressure from the Cold War prompted legislators and school officials to make homework a mainstay in the education system, children have been returning home everyday with stacks of books and papers. Though homework is tedious, time consuming and occasionally demoralizing, some studies suggest that homework prepares students well for tests, particularly standardized tests, by forcing them to practice their lessons over and over again. Other studies produced mixed results. Heated debate over the pros and cons of homework continues today with cogent arguments on both sides of the issue.
Pro #1: Practice Makes Perfect
The primary purpose of homework is to help children retain the information they learn. An advantage of homework is that students who perform rote tasks like reading, writing, and solving equations are likely to acquire a better grasp of the information they're learning. Additionally, children improve their abilities and skills by using the knowledge they’ve learned to solve even more complex problems. These benefits add up and eventually become clear when students are tested. Students who complete homework everyday are better prepared; therefore, they are more likely to feel confident and less anxious about performance.
Con #1: Homework Is Boring
Since many children find homework learning to be tedious and boring, they don’t try as hard, which in turn affects their in-class performance. Teachers have tried combating this trend by making homework more appealing and challenging, but it hasn’t always fared well. While some students performed better, others fell behind due to the increased complexity of the assignments. Teachers could combat this problem by mixing rote work with a few more complex assignments.
Pro #2: Responsibility and Time Management
Work completed in a classroom is easy for a child because it’s a forced action. Children are in school, so they might as well perform the work. Homework, on the other hand, forces a child to take responsibility and manage his time better. Children who fail at this task ultimately garner poor homework grades and fall behind in class, whereas children who do take full responsibility excel. Parents play a pivotal role in this process, because they are partially responsible. That said, parents should work with their child to develop a feasible schedule that takes into consideration homework learning as well as extracurricular activities and leisure time.
Con #2: It's Too Much
Too much homework can demoralize students and lead to lower test scores. Students from countries where less homework is assigned, such as Japan and Denmark, score better on tests than students from countries that assign a lot of homework. While American students do more homework than many of their international competitors, their overall test scores are average.
Homework Learning Conclusion
Controversy over the pros and cons of homework continues unabated. Those opposed to homework cite how children are bored of it, and how too much of it demoralizes them. Likewise, proponents of homework point to improved test scores and a greater sense of responsibility and accomplishment. There may never be a definite answer, but homework will likely be around for many years to come.
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