I should probably be honest here and state that the reason I’m writing about this is because I’ve always thought homework was somewhat extra, both when I was a pupil myself and now, as a parent.
As a child and teenager, I used to come home from school feeling I had done enough for my education that day. But I still had to spend another two to four hours working on sums, essays and readings. Now, as a mother, I find myself feeling sorry for my son. I wish he had more time to read books that interest him, to be more artistic, to be more sportive. Instead, he’s stuck doing more work that prepares him for exams but not so much for life.
Now, I don’t want to come off as an unappreciative bitch. I do understand that homework means more work for teachers, too. Believe me, I am the first one to praise teachers’ work and their importance in our society. After all, whether my son becomes an astronaut or a zoologist, it will be mostly thanks to teachers who continued to inspire him and help him in his journey (along with his own motivation and hard-work, and my screaming, and hard-earned cash).
But will it be thanks to homework, really?
Well, before I sat down to blurt out my frustrations, I did some research. It turns out, that in a 2006 meta-analysis by Harris Cooper, a psychology professor at Duke University, suggested there was evidence that homework at an older age (12+) actually makes learners fare better at school and in exams, and that it helps them become more disciplined, inquisitive, and better at solving problems independently.
Having said that, I also found that many experts disagreed and pointed out that evidence of a correlation didn’t necessarily mean the two were linked as cause and effect. “Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?” questioned education professor at University of Missouri-St Louis, Cathy Vatterott.
I am no education expert by any means, and I do not want to dismiss the education, hard-work and knowledge of education experts. God knows I used to hate it when a client tried to explain architecture to me back in my days as an architect. But I also think that certain things, need to be reassessed in a more human way.
I have no doubt that homework will make my son understand algebra and il-forom tal-verbi better – I mean, duh. But, surely, already exhausted from a day at school, the forcing of homework down children and teenagers’ throats is not the best way to get them to learn, is it? Can it really give them an appetite for knowledge? Does it unleash their full potential as human beings – be it scientific, artistic, sportive, vocational, or so on?
Call me out if I’m saying kazzati, honestly. All I’m saying is that while two decades of going to school and doing homework gave me a degree and a very respectable job, it was only when I was not forced to read or research that I actually started becoming interested in learning.
What do you think? Is homework necessary?
Let us know in the comments section below.