Researchers: Homework proves disadvantage to students

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Two years ago a second grade teacher’s note to parents went viral when she announced a no homework policy. Now, researchers say new evidence shows eliminating homework could be better for students.

In 2016 Brandy Young wrote a note to her student’s parents saying “I am trying something new. Homework will only consist of the work that your student did not finish during the school day.  There will be no formally assigned homework this year.”

She argued that research was unable to prove that doing homework improves students’ performances.  So instead she encouraged families to spend more quality time together.

Now, according to Today, Young is teaching in a new school and is still not assigning homework.  However, she has changed the policy significantly since her first announcement in 2016.

Young told Today that the no homework policy has worked great but has been a learning curve for her as a teacher.  She reportedly said that some of her students actually want to do homework.

According to Today, Young also has students who need extra practice on a specific skill. She explained that in those situations she “communicates with the parent and sends an answer key to ensure the practice will be effective.”

“Not assigning homework doesn’t change the fact that the kids who need extra practice the most usually don’t have the necessary support at home,” Young told Today, “It’s a battle that educators are used to fighting, and it isn’t going away any time soon.”

She reportedly argued that the key to successful educating is all about communication.  She believes that students can accomplish anything with the right support systems.

Teachers across the nation have since followed suit. According to Today, a Florida school superintendent announced a district-wide homework ban for elementary schools in 2017.  That superintendent’s plan reportedly called for “no traditional homework, no work sheets, no endless pages of workbooks. Instead, our children are reading aloud with their parents at least 20 minutes a night.”

Today reports that one year later, the superintendent changed the policy because 86% of teachers did not support the ban.  The new policy reportedly states that “homework should be meaningful and not busy work.”

Now, author of “The Homework Myth,” Alfie Kohn is speaking out. Kohn told Today, “It is important to realize that no research has ever found any advantage to any kind of homework before kids are in high school — and newer studies are questioning whether it’s necessary even in high school.”

Kohn reportedly said that though many people argue homework teaches students responsibility, work habits and independence, that to the best of his knowledge, “not a shred of evidence supports those claims.”

According to Today, Kohn argued that evidence shows disadvantages to homework, such as frustration, unhappiness and family conflict.  He reported said it also “often makes children less excited about learning and leaves them with less time to pursue other interests and just enjoy their childhoods.”

Kohn reportedly believes that even small amounts of homework can negatively impact students’ attitudes towards learning.  According to Today, he encourages parents to advocate for their children and what’s best for their learning.  He even suggested questioning your student’s teacher if the assignments are being given in too large quantities or do not seem to be benefiting the student.

“The bottom line is that research fails to support the practice of giving any amount or any kind of homework to a 12-year-old, let alone to a 6-year-old,” he told Today, “Making kids unhappy about learning is more likely to undermine than to promote academic excellence.”

Continuing coverage here.

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