In recent years there is an ever growing debate on Homework vs. No Homework. Many argue for the No Homework side with various reasons associated with their point of view. The primary issue with homework is it’s purpose. If you are assigning homework without a defined purpose you are not doing your students any help.
When planning your schedule for the week in your classroom be sure to have a defined purpose for the assigned homework. Is there a test tomorrow? Assign homework that will help your students study. Is it an Advanced Placement course? Assign homework that will help prepare students for questions they will see on the exam. Is the course real world oriented like personal finance? Assign homework that students will be interested in like a stock simulation.
There are a few questions you should be asking yourself to best determine the purpose of a homework assignment that will help you explain the purpose to an administrator, students and parents.
The first and foremost question you should be asking is does this assignment tie into the content being covered? A homework assignment on a topic covered three days prior may not be appropriate if you’ve moved on to a new topic.
The next question you should be asking if are my students capable of doing this assignment? By the same token as above, if you haven’t covered a topic yet how can your students successfully complete a homework assignment?
Another question you need to ask yourself is can all of my students complete this assignment? You may be in a situation where your class is mixed with a variety of students. Some might not be able to complete an assignment without a paraprofessional, parent, etc. helping them out.
The final question you need to ask yourself is can this assignment be done in class? Ultimately, parents view homework as work that wasn’t completed during the school day. While teachers are often blamed for this it is necessary to consider. Could you potentially fit an assignment into your schedule so that students do not have to take their work home?
If you are able to define the reasoning behind the homework assignment it is easier to defend giving it. If you can note how it is to serve a purpose: preparing students for an AP exam, preparing students for a test, helping students study for an upcoming test, etc. it will be perceived as more than just something you’re making them do.
Helping students succeed is our ultimate goal, so we need to have Homework, With a Purpose!