Homework. It’s value is always passionately debated and a favourite of the media. Yesterday, this article did the rounds. You are either for it or against.
I’m against it but not for any of the reasons mentioned in the article. In fact I think the article shows a very narrow understanding of parents (except maybe middle class parents). I have many reasons for not liking homework but the one reason that made me change my teaching practice was that in my experience homework is inequitable. It is just another way of showing the kids that have parents who are capable of supporting and value their education and students who don’t.
A number of years ago I cut out homework and take home assessment tasks. I came to the realisation that they did not show me what my students were capable of doing. They showed me how much support they had at home. I encourage my students to study. This is different to homework. I encourage my students to find correlations between what they are learning in school and their life outside of school but I don’t set formal homework.
The results of my students did change. Equitably, for assessment tasks they all had my equal and unwavering support and attention based on their individual needs so their level of achievement, interest, skill development and knowledge retention increased. I was happy I didn’t have to mark homework, my students were happy they didn’t have to do homework or receive a consequence for not doing homework and parents didn’t even notice.
Before setting your next lot of homework ask yourself what outcome it is really assessing, maybe it is not an educational one.