Homework

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Generally Acceptable
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Homework

Post by Generally Acceptable » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:55 pm

brimstone recommended that I start a thread on the topic of homework.
I'll give my two cents, then see if we can get the ball rolling.

I've already stated that I've talked with kids who do homework till 2 AM, but that really isn't the main issue I have with homework.
No, the main concern I have with homework is its effectiveness. I find it questionable, since I haven't seen any substantial evidence for it.

Think about this; Let's say you didn't fully understand what you did in school that day, and you're assigned homework on it that night. You'll obviously have a difficult time with it, right? Right. If you can't get a parent or sibling to help you out, then you're pretty much screwed for the assignment. Sure, you can look on the internet or maybe in the book, but then that leads to another issue for me; if you have to look up the material, then you didn't really learn anything in school, did you? And if you did have an easy time with the homework, whoop-de-damn-do, you spend X minutes proving to yourself that you know how to do something.

Personally, I fail to see the purpose of homework. Forcefully giving students work they usually have no interest in, and I don't see how it can teach you anything, it's more of a determination of whether or not you know the material.

Sorry if this post feels half-assed, I wrote this in a bit of a hurry.

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DarlBundren
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Re: Homework

Post by DarlBundren » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:34 am

Generally Acceptable wrote:I'll give my two cents, then see if we can get the ball rolling.
Nice thread. I don't think I agree though.

A good way of learning something is finding a practical use for it. That's why attending classes is so important. A good teacher, in my view, is someone who is able to give you the means to put into practice what they are teaching. But, that being said, I still believe that a certain amount of mechanical practice on your part is required.

Take learning a foreign language. Maybe you know how to speak four languages, you know how their grammar works, but if you didn't have the opportunity to use them on a regular basis you would probably forget most of the stuff you know. Your brain tends to remember things that are useful for you. Homework helps that information to become important and makes it more readily accessible when you need it. It may not be as useful as a careful explanation, but I think it's far from being worthless.

If I were a secondary school teacher, I would assign my students homework, but I would not require them to do it.

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brimstoneSalad
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Re: Homework

Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Apr 20, 2017 2:22 am

I think the issue is more mandatory homework; if students choose to do it or want practice and are interested in the material, that's an entirely different matter.

I agree that for most subjects it's useless or even harmful because it makes children resent learning.

There are subjects where practice is useful, but I question the value of traditional homework. Something like assigning conversation practice with a Skype pal (for language learning) might be useful. But again, it's important that the kids want to do it.

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miniboes
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Re: Homework

Post by miniboes » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:38 am

My high school geography teacher thought I had a learning problem because I never made my homework. She didn't stop pushing me to do my homework even after I scored 8 or 9 on every test they threw at me.

I agree with Brimstone. Some students need to practice with the material and need homework. Other students, like myself, learn best simply by reading the textbook and taking notes. Some really value the teacher explaining everything. These preferences can even vary from subject to subject; I value lectures a lot more for subjects like economics and statistics than for subjects like sociology and history. I also find homework assignments for mathematical subjects a lot more useful than others.The problem is in the mandatory nature, since it imposes one specific method of learning that works for some but not all on every single student.
"I advocate infinite effort on behalf of very finite goals, for example correcting this guy's grammar."
- David Frum

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DarlBundren
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Re: Homework

Post by DarlBundren » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:26 am

Well, we seem to agree that homework is good as long as it is not mandatory, aren't we?

What kind of other things would you try to do if you were teachers? I remember Brimstone talking about how he would not give marks but percentages, or something along those lines.

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brimstoneSalad
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Re: Homework

Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:15 pm

I don't think grades are very useful. They just punish children for whom the material is too hard (meaning they need more time or a different approach) or children who are not interested in the material (which isn't going to make them more interested).

The key to teaching is to inspire interest, for many subjects that means relating it to practical use.

Teachers tend to use scores on assessments in a not terribly great way, making the system very mechanical. It's harder to teach properly, but it pays off more in the end. And for students who can't or won't learn some material, it's a waste of resources to make them.

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Re: Homework

Post by RedAppleGP » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:17 am

I think this is a good chart:
http://www.alfiekohn.org/article/look-classroom2/
brimstoneSalad wrote:I don't think grades are very useful. They just punish children for whom the material is too hard (meaning they need more time or a different approach) or children who are not interested in the material (which isn't going to make them more interested).
I think this is why a lot of students hate math. I'm sure that it can be fun, but the way it's taught doesn't allow for engaging activity.

Do you think the system will ever improve?

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