Monday, April 14, 2014

Homework amount? The real question is its value.

I have read many articles lately on the amount of homework students are getting today, is it more or less, etc.  Are students over-worked, under-worked?  I don't know the answer to the questions of amount - whether it is more or less, or if it is too much, but the question of the value of homework keeps popping up in my head.

A lot of what I am reading is connecting rigor and homework amount together, more homework is more rigor.  And the question I have is this: does homework make better learners, better students who are more prepared for college and career?  This is the question that I try and remember to ask with each assignment I give.

Is the homework creating a student more prepared for the future, not for the next big power test, but does it support my vision of a person who can problem solve, learn and understand/deal with situations.

I feel like when I started teaching my first instinct was to assign homework because that is what you did, how else can students learn.  But the longer I teach the less homework I assign and it is simply because now I ask myself - how does work make the student stronger, better.

Assigning the homework to be "forward-moving" for the student, making him/her more ready for the next step beyond high school is my only goal.  For me that means a blend of practice, problem solving and justifying - perhaps not every assign gets all three of those things, but when I think about what I assign over the course of month or quarter I think I am getting a decent blend of the three.

In the end - I do my best not to assign busy work, I try real hard to assign work of value.  And my plan is not to stop asking "Is this of value?" when making homework assignments.