Monday, March 30, 2009

Home Study And Homework

Tēnā koutou katoa – Greetings to you allThe Gates of Wellington East Girls' Collegephoto by Hannah Dear
The gates of Wellington East Girls' College -
within which is fostered a culture of learning.

My good friend and fellow blogger, Shaun Wood, in his post,
I Hate Homework But . . . , brought our attention to the post,
Homework. Should it Stay or Should it Go?

In these posts and in their accompanying comments, there is useful and varied strategy given on how homework might be administered. Advice is also offered on how homework should be checked and assessed by the teacher. Some argument is put forward for and against why homework should be given at all.

While great store is placed in the virtue of lifelong learning, I found small mention of any need to introduce the culture and custom of it to the young learner.Could it be that the value of introducing the practice of lifelong learning has escaped the realm of the classroom?

In deference to all the useful and worthy advice contained in the posts, and there was much, I left my comment on Shaun’s, the gist of which is here:

In the secondary sector, home study is almost a necessity for many learners. As learners progress to certificate levels, it's crazy for them not to do home study.

BUT the distinction between home study and homework is important. Many learners will not do home study unless given homework. There is a solid layer of learners who will do their own home study even if they aren't set homework to do.

Home study is a learning accelerator pedal for many learners. By pushing it, some learners can take real control over what they can achieve. Not giving homework lets some learners slip through the net, and many of those simply do not know how to do their own home study.

I'm a pragmatist when it comes to learner achievement. I believe it's a two way process when time spent is concerned.

If the learner is prepared to put in the time with homework, I'm prepared to give them my time. If a learner is not prepared to put in the time, I'm not going to take time to follow it up, for the willing learners need my time.

A culture of learning exists in the classroom and within the school.
For lifelong learning to become a practice, the culture has to extend beyond the precinct of the school and into the home of the learner.

( 2 ) << - related posts

Ka kite anō – Catch ya later


V Yonkers said...

I have given this matter a great deal of thought lately as my kids have constant homework 7 days a week. In New York state, homework is mandated from primary school to high school, at least 15 minutes per night per year of education. As a result, by grade 4, students should be doing 1 hour and 15 minutes of homework per night.

The question is, when do children get the chance to decompress and let their minds soak in what they have learned from the day. Having 6 1/2 hours of constant imput, they are NOT computers and do need some time to process what they learned.

On the other hand, homework gives parents the chance to see what their children are doing (if the parent is responsible enough to do this).

On the other hand, this year my daughter has had a teacher who uses homework as a way to "get through content" that they don't have time to do in class. They are expected to be able to do the work on their own and not given the chance to ask questions (they are graded on what they handed in) rather than using the homework as a way to identify those areas they may need work in.

So I feel that, yes, there is a place for homework, yes, grading does give students the ability to identify areas they need to work on, but not at the expense of giving them some time to process what they have learned nor to use in place of good teaching.

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia

The parents (I believe) are probably more important than the teacher when it comes to attitude towards learning. They are the cultural backgound of the learner in most instances. Their influence, as much as it wanes in the teenage years of the learner, has a powerful influence on the way these precious people think.

Getting though content is another matter. I think the teachers have been the subject of much misguided advice where content is concerned and it's still going on.

A teacher who knows well that content is essential has to weigh this against the current belief that content is not what's wanted. This applies to all the past (and successful!) techniques that were used in the classroom to convey such content as was necessary to the learner. They cope with this by removing content from their classroom and relegating it to homework. Content is dealt with by a "Learn this."

So-called rote learning has been eschewed by many and still is. So much so that anything that smacks of rote learning gets the same treatment. Poor learners I say, for they get to the crossroads in their learning, only to find that they cannot understand concept or theory because they simply are not familiar with the content that's required - sigh.

Catchya later