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Is Homework Beneficial to Children in Any way?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Is Homework Beneficial to Children in Anyway? I decided to research the contemporary issue of 'homework' as it has been an issue that has intrigued and perplexed me right from my first year of teacher training. Developing my teaching skills, over four years, as a Keystage two teacher has allowed me to witness homework set at every level within the keystage. This issue has come to my attention during each and every block school experience that I have undertaken but it was only in my last school experience that I could really focus on the matter, as being in a year six class it was a prominent feature of the curriculum. The teacher regularly set homework for the children to complete over a designated time period. During my time at the school I noticed that a large majority of the class never completed the homework set and would repeatedly make their excuses to the teacher for the incompletion of the task set. This made me ask myself the question "why don't they do it?" Taking this question I decided to repeat it to some of the children in the class. They explained their reasons of failure to carry out the assignment to me, and surprisingly they all sounded genuine and actually very reasonable, making me question further and thus research the issue of homework and the factors surrounding it. By investigating this topic it allows me as a Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) to understand the issue in-depth and culminate a personal opinion. This will in turn inform my teaching and in the future help me to make educated decisions on how to manage my classroom practice. Homework as defined by the DFEE guidelines for Primary and Secondary Schools refers to: "...Any work or activities which pupils are asked to do outside lesson time, either on their own or with parent or carers." (DFEE, 1998, p5) Within the education system, homework seems to be a fact of life wherever in the world we live. ...read more.

Middle

In a report published in the 'Guardian' on the 6th May, 2003 it stated that one in ten 7 year olds had been reduced to tears by stress from homework and the same number had lost sleep over it. One third were said to be "seriously stressed." However, Weston (1999) opposes this view and believes that given homework at primary school level is a good idea as it prepares pupils for the perceived demands of the secondary school homework programme. She declares that by starting to socialise them into good work habits at Keystages one and two, it allows for a smooth transition up to keystage 3. She believes that the changeover between schools is very unsettling for children and by previously experiencing homework and knowing what to expect it is one less issue to make them anxious. Regardless of the kind of family we are, the story is essentially the same. Bring any group of parents together and the talk will eventually turn to the problems they face in coping with homework. One of the main issues that parents seem to expressing fairly frequently is the issue of 'time'. They believe that homework is taking over and that there is no or little time for anything else in their children's lives. After hearing about this discrepancy the government decided to publish 'recommended time allocations for homework' within the 1998 Homework Guidelines. They are that years 1 and 2 should do 1 hour a week on a choice of reading, spellings or other literacy work and number work. Years 3 and 4 such carry out 1.5 hours of homework a week in literacy and numeracy (as for years 1 and 2) with occasional assignments in other subjects. Finally years 5 and 6 should exceed no more than 30 minutes a day. They should have a regular weekly schedule with continued emphasis on literacy and numeracy but also ranging widely over the curriculum. ...read more.

Conclusion

Without carrying out the research for myself I can never be positive of the findings that have been presented to me but I have to place my faith the information and believe that both sides discoveries' are accurate and correct. However, from the issues raised throughout the assignment many questions have been uncovered about the topic. Questions that I believe to be almost impossible to answer, even with solid research and information. I believe that the answers to these questions have no right or wrong answer, the answers merely depend on personal opinion and priorities. If your priority is 'the family then you will undoubtedly oppose homework if your priority is 'education' you will support homework. I believe that homework in no way helps the child to raise their academic standards at school. I purely believe this due to the vast amount of strong evidence that supports this notion. The opposing argument, to me, appears weak and unfounded, showing 'politically sugar-coated' evidence by researchers that work under government jurisdiction. However, I do believe that homework promotes good work habits that children will need throughout their lives and whilst taking into account that homework can be disruptive to family life and be extremely tough on the children in many different ways I believe that if it was not homework causing families and children to be unhappy it would almost certainly be something else, maybe the new strategy that you put in place of homework. Nevertheless, the point must be raised of the insignificance of my personal opinion towards this topic. In the context of reality if the school that I work at promotes a homework policy I must be seen to comply with the schools request for the regular setting of homework. However, possessing a personal opinion about the topic is important as now knowing a vast amount about homework I could challenge the schools reasons for a policy and try to educate those around me to the discoveries I have uncovered or help the school to set an effective homework policy that caters for all. 1 ...read more.

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