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Is homework too stressful?

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Zziggy
1136485.  Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:54 am Reply with quote

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11453912/Homework-around-the-world-how-much-is-too-much.html

Quote:
The head teacher [of a Manhattan primary school], Jane Hsu, wrote to parents telling them that studies on the effects of homework in primary school “could not provide any evidence that directly links traditional homework practices with current, or even future, academic success.”

She told parents that the negative effects of homework at a young age include: “children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities and family time and, sadly for many, loss of interest in learning.”

 
Spud McLaren
1136486.  Sun Jun 07, 2015 5:58 am Reply with quote

I also meant to say that it may not be the homework itself that is inherently stressful, but it's another straw on the camel's back. Life in general for my daughter and most of her friends seems to be much more stressful than it was for me and my friends. There are many more minor (and not-so-minor) mental health problems.

 
suze
1136514.  Sun Jun 07, 2015 8:42 am Reply with quote

As often when the topic turns to education, I could write absolutely pages about this. As all too rarely, I shall try not to do so.

My opinion is that there is a place for homework in secondary school. (Probably not in primary school, but that's not an area that I know much about.) Whether we like this or not, it is a fact that many of the exams that pupils will face are based around writing essays. Accordingly, pupils need to practise that skill.

If I wanted to, I could have pupils sit in silence in class writing essays. But it's rarely going to be a good use of the finite amount of classroom time I have available. I need most of the classroom time for stuff which can't realistically be done outside class, so I can't spare very much time for stuff which pupils could do on their own.

So what I tend to do is this. I will introduce the homework question about 15 minutes before the end of class, and we'll spend the rest of the class time talking about it. Some pupils choose not to participate in that discussion, or even not to listen to it. That is their outlook, but they won't often find that the homework question suddenly begins to make much more sense as a result.

Particularly with A level groups, my homework questions are often quite difficult. Occasionally a pupil or her parent complains about that but I make no apology for it; the questions are supposed to be difficult.

That's for two reasons. Firstly, I want to challenge the best students in the class - and I'm fortunate enough to work in a grammar school where I do have a lot of very good students. Secondly, the pupils do not complain when it comes to the terminal exams and they find that the exam questions are a whole lot easier than ones I've already had them answer.

On the other hand, it cannot be denied that some homework is pointless busy work, set only because the Head insists that homework is set. I try to avoid this, but I cannot in conscience claim that I succeed completely.


NinOfEden wrote:
It's not as if most employers require their workers to carry on working once they've gone home.


Not true, I'm afraid. I make it a personal rule that I do nothing work-related on Saturdays, but if I made the same rule as regards Sundays and weekday evenings I'd never get everything done.

 
'yorz
1136515.  Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:01 am Reply with quote

Spud McLaren wrote:
Life in general for my daughter and most of her friends seems to be much more stressful than it was for me and my friends. There are many more minor (and not-so-minor) mental health problems.

And why is that so, I wonder. How do we measure this?

 
Spud McLaren
1136516.  Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:22 am Reply with quote

No idea on the second question, and very little n the first, I'm afraid.

It does occur to me, however, that at her old school the homework given to my daughter performed a very vital function - it enabled me to find out where extra coaching was required to help her understand what the school had failed to put over. Maths, for example - she struggled with it and was heading for the bottom set. Her new school is thinking of putting her in the top set, because due to the higher standard of teaching she's suddenly "getting it".

 
'yorz
1136517.  Sun Jun 07, 2015 9:26 am Reply with quote

I remember very well the difference a certain teacher could make. The same subject taught by a different teacher would suddenly get much better (or worse) results. It isn't given to everybody to make a subject interesting, let alone enthuse about it. But when they did, it certainly rubbed off.

 
NickF
1136533.  Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:11 am Reply with quote

Absolutely right, 'yorz. My English teacher (at Summerhill) was a huge influence on me. Apart from the subject itself, he introduced me to Bach and also sharpened my perception of puns which I reckon is a language skill as it tunes the ear and lets the mind search for homonyms. I am still in contact with the lovely man.


Edited to correct speling.


Last edited by NickF on Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

 
Zziggy
1136535.  Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:19 am Reply with quote

My English teacher in year 7 was fantastic, and really nurtured me. Had he not lost his job over charges of paedophilia, perhaps I would never have completely gone off the subject of English thanks to Mrs "don't you realise that everybody thinks you're a bitch, [Zziggy]" Thurkettle.

Luckily I also had my German teacher for seven years who was amazing. Genuinely interested in everything. The sort of guy who taught himself Polish when we had an influx of Polish kids, so that they could go to him in crisis (I think I remember he taught himself Danish so that he could do the same for a single Danish pupil we had transfer in). I felt bad not doing German at university for him.

Shame my school hated MFL and was slowly closing down the whole department (I think they kept one French teacher, but only because they had to teach something).

 
tetsabb
1136539.  Sun Jun 07, 2015 11:52 am Reply with quote

I have only just looked at this thread, as I initially read it as 'housework', which is stressful.

 
barbados
1136572.  Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:25 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
As often when the topic turns to education, I could write absolutely pages about this. As all too rarely, I shall try not to do so.

My opinion is that there is a place for homework in secondary school. (Probably not in primary school, but that's not an area that I know much about.).


The "place" for homework inPrimary schools is exactly as it is in secondary. Preperation.

Imagine how you would feel if you had gone through your formative years in teaching, with the day starting at 8:50 and ending at 15:30.then after seven years, you were all of a sudden thrust into the world where, you had to do a couple of hours marking every night and more at weekends.

I would imagine it would come as a bit of a shock?

 
crissdee
1136575.  Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:22 am Reply with quote

That may well be true, but as I said upthread, we should give them a chance to be kids for a while, let them run around the park, build Lego Death Stars, whatever floats their boats before we induct them into the crap world of being a grownup.

 
Zziggy
1136580.  Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:40 am Reply with quote

Yes, the core difference there is that suze didn't start her job when she was five years old.

 
barbados
1136586.  Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:31 am Reply with quote

You're correct, suze didn't start her career in teaching when she was 5. and 5 year olds equally don't have an hour and a half of homework every night.

The point being that throughout a normal rounded upbringing, that is to say barring a death in the family, the two most stressfull times in a child's life are starting school, then starting secondary school. Why would you want to add to that stress by adding a load of extra work at the same time?

 
barbados
1136588.  Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:39 am Reply with quote

crissdee wrote:
That may well be true, but as I said upthread, we should give them a chance to be kids for a while, let them run around the park, build Lego Death Stars, whatever floats their boats before we induct them into the crap world of being a grownup.


I was speaking to the EYFS head in one of the schools where I used to work, she had been the year 6 head at the same school prior to her currecnt job. She pointed out that in early years education, everything is learning. So those youngsters that should be being children are actually learning through play, and their homework will be an extension of what they are doing in class - an example that is current(ish) it's the time of year where chrysilises(sp?) are turning into butterflies. The homework set during the project they are doing - studying how the transformation takes place - would be something like draw a picture of what you think the butterfly will look like, then colour it in, or read a very hungry caterpillar. It isn't write a 5000 word thesis on the lifecycle of a caterpillar. (that comes in year 6)

 
crissdee
1136617.  Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:55 am Reply with quote

The homework may well be age-appropriate in that sense, but I think that for that age group, the school bell (am I being hopelessly old-fashioned there?) should signal the end of ALL school-related activities for the day.

 

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