Monday, June 27, 2011

The homework monster

The next time a proponent of homework says that they have to assign homework because they simply do not have time to cover all of the curriculum, ask them how much time would be sufficient. Ask them how much time are they shy? Ask them how much time would they require in order to properly get through all that is asked of them via the mandated curriculum.

There are likely two kinds of answers.

One answer is that they won't have a quantifiable number - which implies no amount of time would satisfy the insatiable appetite of the curriculum and homework monsters. If this is the case, perhaps we should rethink the entire idea of homework and maybe even curriculum.

Second is that whatever answer in minutes or hours they give will likely be less than the actual hours, days and even weeks of homework their students are actually assigned.

My point here is that we are not nearly mindful enough about the kind and amount of homework that is doled out to kids. It takes mere seconds for a teacher to assign it, but infinitely more blood, sweat and tears from children and their families to to carry out such homework requests.

1 comment:

  1. "[T]hey have to assign homework because they simply do not have time to cover all of the curriculum, ask them how much time would be sufficient."

    There is a logic fallacy in that statement. It assumes that by assigning homework that the student will discover something for themselves that the teacher did not "have time" to present. This will work for students that think like the teacher and most certainly fail for those that don't.

    In my day job, programming, sometimes I will get handed a print out of a piece of code with some notes jotted down on it. Sometimes this is sufficient for me to complete the requested task, sometimes it is not. More often than not, I will have to go have a conversation with someone about what it is exactly that I'm supposed to be getting from this. I think this is the feeling that I've always had in math class.

    I always felt like an idiot for having to ask.

    Maybe the answer is some kind of check for understanding that isn't punitive (a grade).

    Why do we seem to fixate on whether the student's are paying attention instead of fixating on whether or not they are understanding what they are being "taught"?

    Why does it seem like we are asking our children exhibit more discipline and self-restraint than we often do as adults? This is nuts!

    Learning requires dialog; not monologue.

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