Teachers need to do their homework
Posted March 19, 2016on:
What do you do when something that seems so ordinary is questioned?
What if a practice that has gone unchallenged has evidence stacked up against it?
Most side with the status quo because it is the safe bet. However, doing this might not be the best bet.
A meta study of 180 studies on homework revealed that homework had no good returns — and could even be harmful — for primary school children. The meta study also revealed that gains for older children were better, but marginal.
So why do schools and teachers dispense homework? Is this because they know no other way or because things have always been does this way?
What will it take for schools and teachers to question the assumptions for homework, to design better homework (e.g., based on spaced practice), and to be more literate on the research on homework?
I looked back at what I have reflected on for the issue of homework:
- In 2011: The point of homework
- In 2014: The problem is not homework, it is context
- In 2015: Chocolate-covered broccoli
I also found my talking points for an #edsg Twitter chat in 2012 that focused on homework. One of the things I mentioned was this:
Dr Ashley Tan (@ashley) August 28, 2012
Practice is important because it reinforces, it can be formative, and it can generate feedback. These are all essential for learning. Why do it when the key enabling and support structures are missing at home and present in school?