What Homework Research Shows – Interesting Facts

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Homework research shows that for the past ten years, Professor Gerald K. LeTendre, together with colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania, studied how the amount of homework in schools in different countries is reflected in the level of education and performance of the students. We have prepared some theses about the influence of homework on students.

  • One of the main findings of the study is that students receive the most homework in countries with underdeveloped economies and pronounced social inequality. However, homework research shows that there is no evidence that such a level of work positively affects achievement and education.
  • The overwhelming majority of parents believe that a student doing homework from an early age gets used to discipline and independence, and then achieves more in school and life in general. At the same time, a little more than a century ago in the United States (in 1890-1920), no one saw such a profound meaning in homework. It was used solely as punishment, which deprived children of games and free time.
  • Moreover, scientists have found that because of the large number of tasks for students, conflicts can arise on the basis of their implementation. The homework in such cases will cause exclusively negative emotions, and this will not lead to any success in studies.
  • It is pointless to deny that homework today is a worldwide phenomenon. Only 7% of fourth grade students admitted that they usually are not assigned homework. Homework is especially important for the studying process in middle and high school.
  • As for elementary school students, it is scientifically proven that even 30 minutes of work on homework per day, combined with other types of learning activities and the stress due to it, can have a negative impact. Chinese scientists believe that two hours a day spent on homework leads to sleep disturbance and stress. Almost 10% of fourth graders around the world admitted that they spend up to several hours every weekday for their homework. Every fifth fourth-grader in the world spends more than half an hour on homework on mathematics 3-4 times a week.
  • Obviously, the allowable amount of homework varies according to age, as well as cultural and family habits.
  • Some time ago, former French president Francois Hollande proposed to ban work at home altogether, because in his opinion, it could lead to the destruction of liberal order in society. Researchers confirm the serious impact of homework, but they do not agree with Hollande: it is unlikely that it can become a source of class inequality and enmity.
  • The main source of information for researchers was the TIMSS database (International Monitoring Survey of the Quality of School Mathematical and Natural Science Education). The TIMSS ratings, which assess knowledge of individual subjects and the level of education in general, appear every five years and allow the destruction of a number of myths. For example, Asian countries, such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, have the highest math rates in the world, but the amount of homework there is less than the average amount in the world. In the Netherlands, every fifth fourth-grader does not do homework at all, but this did not stop Dutch students from entering the top 10 in the world in terms of mathematics. American schoolchildren are somewhere in the middle of the overall rating.
  • One of the pressing problems of modern education is the large volume of the school curriculum and the pressure on teachers. The teacher does not physically have time to give the students all the material in due volume during the lesson, so much remains in homework.
  • The most important advice that a researcher gives teachers is to look for an individual approach to homework, taking into account age, family situation, interests, and the need for the development of a specific skill for each particular student. Only then the school will be able to squeeze the most out of the homework.

Students from all over the world are loaded heavily with homework. According to statistics, students spend 10 hours a week coping with everything that they were forced to do in the classroom. And what about the result? And now it is scientifically proven: homework does not affect either academic achievement or level of education!

Daily homework is a cause of discord in many families. Australian scientists have tried to figure out whether this is right and whether homework is really necessary for students. According to the Australian Childhood Foundation’s survey, 71% of parents admit that they spend less time with children than they would like, because a lot of hours are spent by a student doing homework.

The professor of educational psychology from Sydney University, Richard Walker, wrote a whole study in which he convincingly argued that homework has far less pedagogical significance than is commonly believed. In his view, children in elementary school do not need it at all, and it gives only a few advantages to middle school students. According to the observations of Professor Walker, only half of the senior pupils doing homework get advantages from it in their studies. The rest had time to absorb knowledge in the class well enough. This opinion is shared by the Australian psychologist Dr. Michael Carr-Gregg, who believes that independent work at home is necessary only in high school, but not in elementary school.

At the same time, scientists do not deny the importance of homework in principle. According to Professor Walker, it helps the student develop self-study skills and a number of personal qualities: independence, initiative, confidence, and responsibility. It is especially important that it gives the child a sense of autonomy, that is, a sense of personal control over life. But this develops in a student only when parents do not interfere with the process of doing homework. According to the scientist, many parents are so pressured in this matter on children that one phrase, “go do homework,” causes a strong resistance to learning in the child.

Australian teachers believe that it is possible to find a middle ground, not allowing the child to study on his or her own, and at the same time, without exerting excessive pressure on him or her. To do this, they encourage students to use more actively all sorts of web resources: educational sites where school subjects are studied in an interesting and accessible form, online consultations of experienced teachers, and the services of Skype tutors (cheaper than home tutors). Some Australian schools also stand for the reduction of homework. In one of the schools in Melbourne, St Michael’s Grammar School, instead of homework, children are asked to play at home with their parents in intelligent board games such as Scrabble, and as proof, they are to show the teacher photos of them playing.

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