3 Reasons Homework is Necessary
Creating a Modern 21st Century School, One Brick at a Time
Should students get homework every single night? If you haven’t been paying attention to social media or teacher groups, then you may not know there is a growing trend to END HOMEWORK.
Which side do you fall on in this debate? Do you think students should get homework or do you think students should not get homework?
Before you make up your mind, I want you to hear three reasons why kids should get homework every single night, except the night before a week long break.
The Purpose of Homework
- Homework Teaches Responsibility
- Homework is an “exit ticket”
- Homework Teaches Consistency
If you don’t have experience as a teacher, then you might not fully understand these three reasons, therefore I want to take some extra time to explain them further.
Homework Teaches Responsibility
The reason there is a debate around homework in the first place is because too many teachers have lost sight of the main purpose of homework. Some teachers started to use homework as a supplemental teaching tool for their students.
That is a misguided approach to teaching.
Somet teachers tried to use homework as a way to get parents engaged in the learning process in school. That is also misguided.
So what is the main purpose of homework?
The answer is to teach kids responsibility.
Here’s how assigning homework teaches responsibility. First, it’s a lot harder than you think for a student to get the homework assignment, put their name and date on it, then complete the homework and turn it back in the next day.
Don’t overlook the amount of effort, organization and also priority it requires students to recognize and understand to complete that one simple task.
In the K12 district I ran, homework was 10% of the student’s final grade. But here’s an interesting fact that you might not know. The homework was not graded. The expectation was that students would turn in homework with their name, date and filled in. It didn’t matter if the homework was completely wrong.
Homework is an “exit ticket.”
At this point in my career, I’ve done well over 10,000 classroom observations. One of the mistakes that I’ve seen many teachers make is rushing at the end of their lesson because they NEEDED to get the students to fill out an “exit ticket.”
This is a perfect example of losing sight of the big picture, in order to fill some sort of misguided quota. And I get it. There are many principals and superintendents who give very bad advice to teachers and so this is the end result.
Here’s a piece of better advice. Stop rushing through your lessons. Instead of making the “exit ticket” the last 5–10 minutes of your class period, assign the “exit ticket” for homework.
Solves two issues at the same time.
Homework Teaches Consistency
After more than 20 years in education, I know teachers are not purposely trying to make parents lives more difficult, but sometimes teachers do not think before they act.
Let’s imagine what it’s like at home for the student and their parent for a second. What’s the first question every parent asks their child? “Did you do your homework?”
What happens when the child answers:
“I don’t have any homework,” or “The teacher didn’t give me any homework.”
What’s a parent supposed to do in that situation? Parents and students need consistency. The reason for assigning homework every night is so that parents and students know this is an expectation. There is consistency.
When a teacher starts to go off script and says, “Nah, you don’t need homework tonight.” That teacher better send an email or tweet home to the parents before the students get home saying, “I am not giving homework tonight because I just don’t feel like it.”
If you feel differently, prove me wrong. That’s what the comment section is for.
Creating a Modern 21st Century School
My goal is to help teachers, principals, superintendents and parents build modern 21st century schools in their backyards. The way our K12 schools are run are backwards and outdated.
It’s time for a real change.
The problem is that we don’t need to throw out the old system and start from scratch. As you can see, the problem stems from forgetting the purpose of what we are doing.
Homework morphed into a really misguided thing. The answer is not to STOP giving homework, the smart decision is to find the purpose again and do what’s right.
The main reason teachers, principals and superintendents contact me is because they are looking to find the real purpose again. The mission of school has gotten lost in the chaos of social media. Every single teacher guru account on social media is promoting very BAD advice.
It’s time to calm things down and get back to basics.
I have spent 20+ years inside the K12 system and 20+ years conducting educational research, when you combine all of that information and field testing, it adds up to someone who know the small details of school.
Pick any issue you are facing in your school, and I’ve probably handled a similar situation. Which means, I know what is going on, I understand how it feels and I’ve also field tested a solution.
If you’re tired of dealing with the same problems over and over again, contact me here or on social media.
About the Author:
D. Scott Schwartz, M.Ed. can be found on Twitter and Instagram with the handle “@theschooldoc.” He hosts a LIVE weekly podcast on IG called “Tuesdays with Schwartz” which discusses 21st century skills and how to be more successful in life. He does consulting work for Education Development Institute, an education think tank that helps businesses and schools maximize their potential in the new millennium.