Homework, the dreaded word that has plagued children for many decades now. Some students love homework while others hate it. Some newer education models have entirely decided to abolish homework altogether; however, is this the most effective approach to educating kids or not?
Personally, I don’t think that homework per say is the problem but rather than an entire overall on the way we are educating the youth of the future needs drastic reformation. Nonetheless, the topic at hand is homework, and thus we’ll consider the current structural approach to education within the premise.
What is the Purpose of Homework?
Children spend roughly seven hours of their day in a classroom learning about a wide range of topics. Within each of these subjects, a teacher will provide homework for the child to reinforce the concepts learned throughout the day.
Homework serves multiple purposes:
- It teaches discipline
- Follow Through
- Time Management
All of these factors are skills that every adult utilizes every single day of their lives. It teaches you that even though the “required time” has been spent (being in school), some things require extra-curricular efforts. It shows us that yet though we might have learned something once, it is necessary to reinforce the concepts to make it part of our mental processes. It teaches us that within a 24-hour day, we need to manage our time correctly to do all the tasks that require of us.
These are all exceptional benefits that can obtain from homework.
What’s the Downside of Homework?
As mentioned earlier, homework isn’t necessarily the problem but rather our approach to education. Our current educational system has remained unchanged for more than a hundred years. The modern school established during the industrial revolution and the need to create a unified educational system.
So similarly to a factory scenario, children have an alarm system that announces when they have to go to class. Think of this as a conveyer belt. The child reaches stage one (first period) and moves along the conveyor belt until the objective has been achieved (final bell).
Each of these steps takes about 45 minutes. During this process, the student is required to retain all the information and then move onto an entirely different subject.
Over time, the student’s ability to retain the information becomes less prominent and what learn in the first period only becomes a vague memory by the 8th stage.
Homework then reinforces the concepts at home to ensure that the student ‘learned his/her lesson.’ The problem with homework is that if the student didn’t fully understand the concepts within the class, they would reinforce the wrong concepts within their homework.
Another problem is oversaturation. The human mind compartmentalizes information based on relevancy, importance, and interest. If you bombard the brain with too much information, it becomes jumbled up and more difficult to recall later on.
Furthermore, burnout is a real concern within modern education. Kids are overload with work that they don’t spend enough time on personal development. Sure, academia is essential, but what about self-discovery, understanding empathy and observing the physical world around us.
These experiences are critical to the development of a healthy adult. One could argue that homework steals away from the self-development of the individual by over saturating the child with concepts developed to warp their mind to a structural similarity with their peers.
In this instance, homework is counterproductive to the betterment of society as the whole.
Should Homework Be Banned?
As mentioned several times, homework can be a good thing, and it can be wrong, but the real issue is in the way we’re teaching kids these days. We’re not honing their skills but providing cookie-cutter knowledge that doesn’t show people to think outside of the proverbial box.
We are very theoretical and forgo the practical lessons that linger within the human psyche much longer than bits of data.
We need to create an experiential approach to education, a more hands-on approach. The subsequent homework would also be practical. It means that kids aren’t just learning, but they are experiencing the lessons teach, making it a part of who they are.
Before the standardized educational process, people used to learn any trait or skill through mentorship. If you wanted to become a blacksmith, you would work with a blacksmith as an apprentice.
While this isn’t a viable option on a mass scale, I believe that introducing a similar approach within modern academics can create a more robust framework for education. The following homework then would be appreciated by the students as it would only serve to fine-tune the very skills they are learning within their educational environment.
Therefore, to ban or not ban homework writing is an irrelevant concept. We need to evolve our approach to education and realize that one size doesn’t fit all. We need to cater to the individualistic needs of the student as opposed to assuming that we’re all the same. Some of the math, others history, while some base knowledge is required, we should be focusing on the natural abilities of the individual from an early age on. This way, we’ll be training a generation that understands their function within society, contributing with more passion and genuine interest.
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