Should teachers assign homework - pros and cons?

Homework has been set by teachers for students for generations but today there is far more debate about the value of such work. Some studies have been made examining the value of homework. The students actually benefit from being assigned homework? If they don't benefit, should homework assignments be scrapped?

One of the most obvious aspects of this debate is the fact that whilst you might be dealing with millions of students you are actually dealing with millions of individuals. Everyone is different. So to announce a blanket ban for example on the imposition of homework might be great news for some students but bad news for others. In other words some students benefit far more from homework than do other students. Is there a simple solution?

Is homework necessary in the first place?

Some teachers today would argue that they have never been more busy. They no longer spend all their time preparing lessons, teaching and correcting the work of the students. Some teachers today would argue that they spend a great deal of time in meetings discussing education policy. Whether that is true or not and whether or not it affects their ability to teach well is also a subject for debate.

But teachers have long followed the practice of giving students homework. It can vary greatly. It can be specific tasks in specific subjects or it can be a general instruction to see a film or read a book. The best teachers of course would argue that homework is an adjunct to and an important support for the work which goes on in the classroom. If that's the case then teachers should assign homework.

What is the supervision at home?

In many cases a student will bring home the work assigned by their teacher and one or both parents will supervise the work their child is performing. Is the parent a good person to help with their child's homework? Is understanding the concepts involved in the study of the homework more important than simply getting the right answer? You can develop an argument which says that some parents may do more harm than good by getting involved with the homework set for their child.

When homework is well-designed and when students are given appropriate support at home, the work routines not to mention the information and understanding gained can all add benefits to the student.

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