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Is Homework Effective or Burden?

The homework debate has been going on for decades now. Different individuals tend to have different views when it comes to assessing the benefits of homework. While some might think that homework helps keep students on track in studies, others view it as an unnecessary burden and a waste of time.

What Does Research on Homework Say?

While a significant number of educators have started to believe that homework is an outdated practice, it is still widely followed in most countries. Some studies suggest there is no evidence of the academic benefit of homework, while other studies have shown contrary results. Research on the effectiveness of homework is therefore inconclusive.

Benefits of Homework

There are several ways in which homework can be effective for students, in both offline and online teaching.

Learning reinforcement

As the saying goes – “out of sight, out of mind” – in the absence of homework, students may not be able to retain what they learn in school. Without recalling, they may lose track of concepts. In this case, homework acts as learning reinforcement that encourages students to memorise what they have studied.

Time management

In addition to conceptual clarity, homework is also about time management. Completing homework on time helps students practice questions within a specific timeframe. This is helpful for exam preparation and at the same time teaches the importance of managing time.

Practice

Practice makes perfect. When students do homework, they understand concepts better and are encouraged to approach teachers if they are stuck. This helps them identify learning gaps and also gives them the opportunity to fill those gaps by referring to books, researching on the topic, or by asking doubts to parents or teachers. They are encouraged to study on their own and acquire research, analytical and critical thinking skills.

Drawbacks of Homework

Along with the benefits, there is also a negative side to homework. 

Stress

A study has suggested that many students find homework to be a leading stress factor. It can cause significant stress in a student’s life. They may feel anxious about finishing it in time or the consequences of answering questions wrong.

Too much homework

Assigning too much homework can be counterproductive as students may feel burned out and will have little or no time for other activites. This may harm students’ academic potential and their ability to learn.

Punishment

In some countries, homework has a bad reputation in schools. Some teachers may use it as an instrument to intimidate students. As a result, many students view homework as a punishment. This makes homework ineffective as students cannot learn if they feel threatened. Furthermore, the penalisation of students for not completing homework may add to its adverse effects.

Clearly, homework has both positive and negative effects. While it clearly has invaluable benefits, assigning too much homework can be concerning. Schools must be mindful of the thin line between motivating students academically and overwhelming them. It is important to acknowledge that quality is more important than quantity. For more insights on homework, alternative homework ideas, and homework customisation, listen to Chalking Change’s exclusive episodes on homework here.

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