Should Teachers Assign Homework

The principal of Gaithersburg Elementary in Maryland decided to ask students to spend only 30 minutes in the evening reading.

The decision was reached out of the realization that worksheets and other assignments had been assigned merely out of a sense of obligation to dole our homework to students.

“I have calculated that I have averaged only two to three ‘teaching’ days per week, depending upon re-teaching for those hard to conquer standards and testing,” Linder says.

“My students have not covered as much material as students in the past have because of these factors.

Nightly practice of any concept keeps the brain engaged in the topic and helps the student focus.” Karen Spychala, a teacher in San Jose, believes homework has value, but is concerned about its potential to consume too much time outside the school day.

“Homework has its place: to practice skills and most importantly to involve families in their child’s learning” Spychala explains.

“Our new motto for assignments is ‘review and preview.” That means that homework in the district now constitutes an ungraded review or preview of current course work that’s the students’ responsibility to independently complete.

Spelling words, vocabulary practice, and study guides for testing all fall under this purview.

“This practice sends the message to students that their work and their learning are important and valued,” Downing says.

“Students take special care to do their best work when they know that the final piece will be displayed in the hall or on the classroom bulletin board.” But for Bonnie Stone, an elementary school teacher in Tulsa, too much homework is too much homework.

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