It’s no secret to parents of gifted kids that they often do not like or even feel the need to do homework and what may start as a simple assignment can quickly escalate to a full blown battle. Assessing the value of homework represents a great divide in education; expectations are rarely met. The purpose of homework is usually to reinforce lessons learned in class, but is this necessary for high-ability kids?
The effects of homework for our youngest students are unproven. Many believe time could be better spent in play and socialization activities. Homework may be more valuable at the secondary level for students considering higher education or to learn better work habits.
Socio-economic status can have a profound effect on the benefits of homework; many students must work and not all families have access to resources, such as Internet access at home, necessary to complete homework assignments.
Many believe that homework aids in student achievement. There are, however, many factors involved in realizing value from homework ~ i.e., subject matter, student ability. The quality of the homework assigned and an individual student’s needs affect the beneficial aspects of homework.
Should high ability students be required to do homework? Redundant, busy work provides few benefits to these students. They tend to work well independently in areas of interest. Meaningful, challenging work would provide greater benefits. High-ability students are often overloaded with homework; and experience high levels of stress, anxiety, health problems, and feelings of alienation.
Teachers can offer alternatives to homework. Younger students need to be actively engaged in ‘play’ time. Older students should be allowed to pursue passions so that they will be motivated to work outside classroom.
Homework is probably here to stay for the immediate future but educators are definitely taking a second look at when and what type of homework to give. A transcript of this chat may be found on our Storify page.
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Tuesdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Wednesdays at 13.00 NZDT/11.00 AEDT/1.00 UK to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.
Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.
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!
Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Fridays at 7/6 C & 4 PT in the U.S., midnight in the UK and Saturdays 1 PM NZ/11 AM AEDT to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Pageprovides information on the chat and news & information regarding the gifted community.
About the author: Lisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered byTAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime advocate for gifted children and also blogs at Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Homework Guidelines Victoria (AUS) Department of Education and Training
People from 6 countries and 13 states joined together to discuss the problems with homework. New faces continue to join each week and we always welcome those who prefer to simply lurk and learn. Congratulations was extended to longtime chat participant, Leslie Graves (@LesLinks) who was recently elected president of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children. She will take office in August at their World Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.
A consensus was reached by hour’s end that homework should be meaningful, an extension of learning in the classroom and not be graded. Cybraryman introduced a bit of levity into the chat with one of his homework jokes, “Why did the student eat his homework?” Answer* to follow later in this post. A full transcript may be found here.
Participants also discussed the ‘flipped classroom’, strategies to help children with their homework and the best places to find resources for homework help.
At the end of chat, it was announced that March 22nd will be a very special chat as we celebrate our first year of support by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented. Not only have they provided excellent support to the moderator, but have helped to spread the word about chat through their website, weekly member’s eNewsletter, and by giving voice to #gtchat throughout their annual conference. Look for an all star line-up of guests that day as we chat about the value of Twitter chats. Please join us at 7PM EDT/6PM CDT. Also, note that the U.S. has already changed to Daylight Savings Time. Check your location’s time here.
“Sprite on the Subject of Homework” from @jofrei
Cybraryman’s Homework Help Page
Cybraryman’s The Homework Debate Page
How to do Homework Without Throwing Up from Free Spirit Publishing
Ending the Homework Hassle (ebook)
Homework Without Tears (Amazon)
Homework: The Good and the Bad from @SENG_Gifted
Why I Bothered to Flip My Classroom from @TheHeadKnuckle
8 Crucial Resources for Flipped Classrooms from @edudemic
Salman Kahn: Let’s Used Video to Reinvent Education (TED Talk – video)
* Because his teacher said it was a piece of cake!