All Work and No Play Makes Johnny A Dull Boy (And Makes Me Hate School)
One of the biggest problems teachers have with students all over the country is getting them to turn in their homework. After careful deliberation and consultation with other students I have found the perfect solution to this problem. Abolish homework. That’s right. You read that correctly. Abolish homework. Get rid of it altogether. You are probably thinking that this is just my way of trying to get out of writing this paper. However, this issue is being seriously debated in United States. If you won’t take my word for it then just read on and listen to the experts.
There are many people who believe that abolishing homework would be in the best interest of students (and no, those people are not the students themselves). One person who supports this idea is a teacher himself, Brian Crosby, and the author of Smart Kids, Bad Schools: 38 Ways to Save America’s Future. The biggest problem Crosby has with homework is that it’s preventing kids from actually being kids. If each teacher gave 30 minutes of homework, students would have three hours of homework to complete by the end of the day. In his book, Crosby quoted a student as saying “Ever since school started I have had no more than five to six hours of sleep. I have been living off caffeine and sugar just so I can make it until sixth period.” Teachers demand students’ full attention in the classroom, they give multiple homework assignments, and they also encourage students to participate in extra-curricular activities. When do kids get time to actually be kids? Children need to have stress-free time where they don’t have to worry about school or homework. They need time to relax and unwind from the school day before having to worry about what work the next day brings. Students shouldn’t be expected to perform at the utmost level when they barely have enough time to get a good night’s sleep. Crosby had it right when he said, “It’s time to put the child back into the hood…his own childhood.”
Another supporter of abolishing homework is educational researcher Etta Kralovec. Kralovec presents her opinion of homework in public schools by calling it the “black hole of learning.” “Homework simply doesn’t make sense in this brave new constructivist world of teaching and learning,” Kralovec stated. In her argument, she quoted a statistic indicating that only 15% of America’s schoolchildren are happy in the classroom, and everyone else “suffers a little bit.” One of the problems she gave with homework is the fact that when students take schoolwork home, teachers cannot control who actually does the assignment. This is one of the problems I have with homework as well. I have had parents telephone me and ask me to help them do their child’s online test that was assigned. I also went to school with students who admitted that their parents did their homework for them. What good is this doing? Who is really benefitting from this? Definitely not the students. Duke University’s Harris Cooper, the nation’s top homework scholar, concluded from one of his reviews that homework does not measurably improve academic achievement for kids in grade school. It also hurts students if too much of it is done. Cooper’s analysis of dozens of studies found that doing more than 60 to 90 minutes of homework a night in middle school and more than 2 hours in high school is associated with lower scores.
Even after all of this information has been presented, there are still many people who will argue that homework is needed. The main reason for this may be the fact that if students didn’t take time outside of school to complete their work, more class time would have to be allotted for it which would take away instructional time. This would mean that teachers would have less time to cover new material and students would be learning fewer important concepts. However, abolishing homework would free up all the time that teachers have to spend collecting the homework in class and scolding those who claimed their dog ate their homework. Besides, if students are not doing their homework anyway, what good is assigning it going to do?
You have heard what the experts (and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what the students) have to say about homework. Even though there are some positive aspects to homework, the negatives outweigh the positives. Even if homework helps save time in the classroom, that won’t make a difference if students are burnt out on school and learning altogether. We can’t expect students to do well in school if they loathe going to it in the first place. Sometimes you have to sacrifice something in order to get something better in return. In this case, sacrificing a time saver in order to improve the way kids feel about school is definitely worthwhile. If students enjoyed school more, we could expect to see better results and more graduates, which happens to be the actual point of education.