Homework or Play?
For years teachers and parents have believed that homework was a good way to reinforce lessons learned in class, but there is mounting evidence that this simply is not true; particularly at the elementary level in it’s present form. During the early years, children learn valuable skills through play that serve them throughout their lives.
Shanna Weber, a gifted and talented teacher in New Jersey, pointed out, “Teachers confuse “rigor” with more and harder, and parents apply pressure to stay informed.” Angie French, a gifted resource teacher in Texas, added, “I think it’s associated with teachers being accountable for covering so much to met state expectations.” However, Gina Boyd, a 4th/5th grade teacher of gifted students in Indiana, reminded us that simply not doing homework does not guaranteed quality play time for all children.
Some of the negative effects of homework at the elementary level discussed included that no studies link homework to current or future academic success. Children can develop a very negative attitude toward school and learning at a young age. Jeff Shoemaker, 7/8th grade teacher of gifted students in Ohio, told us that “homework for little ones makes stress for the family and that a lot of it is useless repetition.”
The benefits that come from reducing or eliminating homework for elementary students were many. Lisa Lauffer of Creative Miracles said, “[It gives children] time to pursue what interests them. [The resulting] reduction of stress reduces anxiety and depression.” Carol Bainbridge, expert on gifted kids at About.com, added, “Kids are free to explore topics of interest in depth.” Also, The benefits of ‘down’ time cannot be overlooked. Sometimes gifted kids just need to ‘chill’!
Check out the full transcript at Storify to see some of the alternatives to homework that were proposed. How do you feel about homework? Leave us a comment below!
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Homework Guidelines Victoria (AUS) Department of Education and Training