Homework: The (un)necessary evil?

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Maggie Reid, Staff Writer

Texas teacher Brandy Young has been generating attention after sending her students home with a note saying there would be no formal homework. The only work needed to be completed would be work not finished during class time, according to Live Science.

The note states that homework has not been shown to improve student performance. Young asked parents to instead read to their children, eat as a family, play outside and to get them to bed early. All these activities, according to Young, are proven to correlate with student success.

“I think homework is important because it isn’t possible for a student to learn everything that has to be learned in the classroom,” Assistant Professor of Education Kathleen Cullen said.

“It’s important to reinforce and apply information as well as for the student to demonstrate the information that they learned.”

Students around campus had differing opinions when it came to Young’s homework policy.

“I think that homework in elementary school is garbage; it’s useless. It only really matters in the higher grades. That’s where it helps,” junior Tommy Sorber said.

While having no homework means students will have more downtime, it would mean having more work in the classroom, according to Cullen.

“When a student doesn’t complete an assigned reading, what most teachers do is assign that time to be taken up in class. When they don’t do the reading, there can’t be a class discussion,” Cullen said. “So the time that could have been spent doing other things is spent doing the work that should have been done.”

One of the reasons why the note became so popular is because some parents have started to think that the amount of homework assigned to their children is too excessive.

“How to figure out where that line is, is difficult,” Cullen said. “It’s different based on grade level. Homework for a kindergartener would be different than older grades. For example, in college for three hours in class, there should be work for three hours out of class. High schoolers doing three hours is too much because they have class the next day, but college students have all week.”

The last thing that children want to do when they get home from school is homework. However, some students were glad to have it because of how it helped them develop academically.

“As a child I was very unfocused in class. Homework helped me learn the material after I would go over it with my tutor at the time,” freshman Phil Berlin said.

According to Cullen, homework also not only helps the students, but the teacher as well.

“You can’t call on every student every day and you can’t tell what they are thinking. Individual assignments help the teacher to understand what the student had trouble with and what they learned,” Cullen said. “People have a picture of what homework is in their head, but it can be so many things. It depends on the teacher.”

Homework doesn’t have to be boring either. Cullen says that it should be relevant to what is going on currently to engage the students. Teachers should also be able to answer the frequently asked question by students of why they have to know the material.

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