Homework: Hindrance or Helpful?
Is ALL homework necessary?
Homework has been a part of almost everyone’s life at some time or another. I believe that there are many ways to view the benefits and downfalls of homework. As one who usually had at least two to three hours of homework each night as a high-school student, a mere part of that led to retention or learning. Most was simply memorized for the time being. Feedback from my instructors was most beneficial to me.
I, as a foreign language instructor, give little outside homework. I prefer to watch the students work, correcting and helping them as they work in class. Many of them do not have someone at home who can help with questions, which may frustrate the kids. They ultimately will have some things to finish on their own, which allows me to see if they have learned the material presented to them and to teach them a sense of responsibility.
One major downfall of the homework that I specifically recall was getting “corrected homework” back, but no feedback from the teacher to help me figure out what had been done incorrectly. I accepted the grade that I had received and tried to do better the next time. I believe that we do learn from our mistakes, not only with homework, but also with valuable lessons in life. However, if simple mistakes can be corrected on homework, the teacher should address them and give feedback in a timely manner in order to help the students learn. Another downfall of homework as I see it is what some may term as “busy work”. I would rather engage with my students in class and encourage participation and learning than give them a “go through the motion” assignment that most will finish with little to no retention.
Lastly, does homework promote responsibility? In my opinion, the older the students get, the more they should take responsibility for their actions. As discussed in one of our group sessions, the instructors who are teaching our upper-level students should expect more responsible behavior from their students. They are the teachers who are helping to transition our young adults into college and the “real world”. Homework is essential at this level and I believe it helps the student to learn responsibility. All students need to see that their future college instructors and ultimately their future employers will expect them to be responsible in order to be successful young adults.
In conclusion, I feel that homework has its benefits as well as its downfalls. I also believe that instructors should take into consideration the busy lives that some of their students may have, and, in turn, limit the load of homework given. Ultimately, is it “busy work” or are the students actually learning from the homework that is given?