Homework and Its Importance
When I was a student I hated homework, and then when I first became a teacher I hated giving homework to my students. To be honest, I guess never really thought of all the benefits that students get from regularly completing homework. Instead, I was like a lot of rookie teachers; just trying to be liked by my students, instead of thinking about what is actually best for them. Whether you are teaching English or any subject, homework is a key part of the learning process. On top of this, homework also teaches students additional lessons that contribute to their success later in life. Below is a list of some of the reasons that I think giving students homework is so important:
1. First of all, homework helps review and reinforce the new material that students are currently learning in class. There is a reason that the expression "practice makes perfect" has been around so long, and that is because it's true. Especially if you are trying to learn a new language, practice is essential to becoming better. Homework also helps students stay involved in class as they are caught up and have a better understanding of what they are being taught..
2. Homework teaches students about responsibility / self-discipline. By making sure that students complete their homework each night, students will develop a sense of responsibility and learn the value of self-discipline as they are forced to restrain themselves from playing until they have finished their assignments. These attributes will be essential as they someday move into the workforce if they wish to be successful.
3. Homework teaches students to work independently and to problem solve. It seems so many children are hand-held throughout all the challenges they face in their early life these days, but homework provides the opportunity for them to not only work independently and work on their problem solving abilities, but successfully facing the challenge of homework also builds self-confidence.
4. Homework and assignments (especially for older kids / teens) helps them become better at planning and being organized. As homework becomes more demanding and time-consuming as children age, students must learn to plan their time wisely and become organized to successfully complete their homework and assignments.
5. For teachers, homework helps to monitor students' progress and helps teachers to reflect on their own practices. Even though students seem to be 'getting' the new material you are teaching in class, homework provides ample evidence to determine whether or not students are really learning. Good teachers can use this information to reflect on their lessons and practices, and make changes where they are necessary.
6. Homework allows parents to know what their children are learning in school and gives them an opportunity to be involved in the kids' education.
Although homework has many benefits for students, teachers and parents, the problem is often that homework is being used incorrectly by teachers. As a teacher you shouldn't:
-Place too much grade value on homework - Homework is a great tool to access student progress, but not every students will be successful with the work they do independently. Teachers must remember students learn at different speeds and manners, and that homework, while valuable, is not accurate measure of academic success for all students.
-Give too much homework - If you want to make a child hate your class or the subject matter they are learning, give them a lot of homework.
-Give too little homework - In order to develop some of the valuable life skills I mentioned earlier (self-discipline, organization, problem-solving, etc) homework has to be given regularly.
-Give pointless homework - Homework should be relevant and have a purpose. Don't just give homework for the sake of giving a homework grade or keeping students busy. Homework needs to engage students and contribute to the learning process.