Schools and Homework

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Do you remember being in school working as fast as you could in class so you wouldn’t have to do any homework?  Or do you remember not being able to go out to play because you had to finish your homework?  Did you ever forget to do your homework?  Or perhaps you decided you wouldn’t do your homework?

Homework seems to be a function of schools in the public school setting.  IT seems that enough work can’t be covered in class, so students must continue to do work while at home, away from school.  IS this because students are lazy in school, teachers are not motivated, or simply there is too much curriculum to cover in schools?

Each year, education funding and budgets get cut back, however, it seems, expectations of students and teachers go up.  Curriculum resources and classroom resources may have been stripped from classes, however, standards (both provincial and national) seem to keep going up, expecting more from students.

Teachers are also affected by governmental cutbacks.  Generally, in the past 10 years, we have seen an increase in the amount of students per class (in high schools this number can be as high as 40, and in elementary classes, we have seen the numbers go up to as high as 32).  So, therefore, how can a teacher reach every student for every academic need, every different learning style, and accommodate different learning abilities?  This is a very challenging role that a teacher faces in this day and age of teaching and education.

So, if you were a teacher, teaching 40 students, 5 of which are academic superstars and are ahead of the game, looking for enrichment activities,  20 ‘get it’ and are able to stay with the flow, 10 struggle to stay within the timelines and content expectations and  5 students require remedial attention.  How can teachers possibly facilitate a learning environment in which all students will have the same amount of work, and yet, meet the same expectations?  It is nearly impossible.

I’m sure we can all remember subjects that were more difficult than others, and subjects that we had to spend extra time on.  That really hasn’t changed for schools now a days.  However, more strict regulations on curriculum and learning expectations have made it harder for teachers to give the one on one attention that students deserve and need when learning.

So, it is fair to say, in order to cover all expectations and curriculum teachers need to give homework to be able to make sure it gets all done, and so students don’t fall behind.  Generally, the students that have the most effective time management skills and effective coping mechanisms for expectations are the ones that have the minimal amount of homework.  It doesn’t really seem fair that those students without those time management skills and needing extra attention will actually require more time spent on their studies. 

Unless expectations for the upcoming work force are drastically changed, then homework will continue to be a fact of life for those students attending over crowded, and over pressed public schools.