Homework No More
I once moonlighted at a tutorial center with a clientele from an adjacent Chinese school known for quite a high standard in learning activities. Honestly, I was appalled at the work load the students are given and the stress they have to go through. My tutee comes at around 5, all drenched and drained from the day’s classes; then we have to go over a seeming punishment of a horde of homework and a pressuring preparation for quizzes and long tests. I was thinking, “this kid has got to have a life”. I would quickly finish the job and send him home early. Heck, the kid as to rest, not to mention, be a kid. Eventually, after some three months, I was terminated for that same reason.
Three years ago, I wrote an article about a proposition to abolish homework in Philippine schools. Now that it’s official together with a possible 2-year prison penalty and a Php 50,000.00 fine, I think it would be nice to look back at it. So, I asked permission from the author of the article who happens to be yours truly to plagiarize that article.
When you were a kid, didn’t you just wish teachers would never give any homework from kindergarten to college? Well, if you did, wish granted. Now, all your assignment-hating students, you have found an ally in the guise in no less than the national legislation with the strong backing of executive body, DepEd.
In an informal survey conducted by the author of this article among teachers and parents of pupils and students of levels from kindergarten to tertiary, asking them if they agree or disagree with the policy and why, 60% of teachers agree with the “No Homework Policy”, with the major reason that it would give children quality time with the family”. The remaining 40% disagree because according to them, there would be no follow-up activity for retention and mastery, and advanced study of lessons. Furthermore, a projected effect is the decrease of the development of study habits of children. On the other hand, all interviewed parents unanimously concur in disagreement against the policy; with reasons in consonance with the disagreeing teachers. Parents’ concerns were raised regarding the perceived probable decline of academic performance, study habits, and value of diligence and hard work. (Responses were given some three years ago; not too long ago. Situations are pretty much similar between then and now.)
“Homework teaches students about time management, and setting priorities. Making assignments “helps teachers determine how well the lessons and material are being understood by their students.” It “gives students another opportunity to review the class material.” Assignments “gives parents a chance to see what their child is learning in school. It teaches students the skill of problem solving, the discipline of having to do things, even when they don’t want to, taking responsibility for their part in the educational process, the value and procedures of independent work, and the importance of planning, staying organized and taking action.” (lessonplanspage.com) “These tasks are important to help the students revise the concepts taught in class and perform better at the subject.” Learners “can develop a better understanding of the subject and its applications when they attempt assignments on their own.” “It will help them revise the concepts they read in school. (www.theschoolfield.org) “Memphis Parent writer Glenda Faye Pryor-Johnson says that, “When your child does homework, you do homework,” and notes that this is an opportunity for parents to model good behavior for their children.” (education.cu-portland.edu)
However, on the other hand, “there is actually no homework in Finland”; yet the high school graduation rate for students in Finland comes in at 93% against Canada’s 78% and the US’ 72%“Finland also happens to have the highest rate in Europe for students going to college (two out of three)” (neomam.com) In fact, Finnish education is considered the best in the world; and they have no homework. Typically “the highest homework loads are associated with countries that have lower incomes and higher levels of social inequality.” (newrepublic.com)
Students “need time to relax and take their minds off work”; considering the “pressure of having to complete homework every night is quite daunting for most children” and this necessitates “time to refresh their minds and bodies”. Homework reduces a child’s family time which is “especially important to a growing child and without it social problems can crop up and a family unit can be compromised by a lack of time being spent together.” Homework can cause conflict between parents who want the child to do their homework, and a child exerting resistance to do an overwhelming task. (www.teach-nology.com)
“Now, finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have. “ 2 Corinthians 8:11-12