Monday, January 01, 2007

Homework: It's Oppressive, Divisive, and Generally Pedagogically Useless

What it does, mainly, is acclimate students to the idea that people for whom they 'work' (teachers in school; bosses later) have the authority and the right to demand that take their 'work' home with them, so that later in life, when their employers require them to take work home with them for no additional recompense, they will be less inclined to complain, having become accustomed to it in their youth.

That's my opinion. I haven't written a book about it, though. Alfie Kohn has, and he asks: Why do schools keep giving more homework when research shows there's no correlation to academic achievement? The fallout, Kohn argues, is family conflict, frustrated kids, and a decreased joy in learning.

"No research has ever demonstrated any academic benefit to making kids do homework before they're in high school. Even in high school, there is only a weak correlation between standard measures of achievement and doing homework. What's more, there is no evidence that the two are causally related—that is, that kids who have better grades and test scores have them because they've had to do more academic assignments after a full day in school. Finally, there isn't a shred of evidence to demonstrate that homework has any nonacademic advantages, such as teaching self-discipline and responsibility or teaching kids good work habits."

They hate him in 'Discipline-ville,' where all the faded lights of "A Nation At Risk" still hang out. To make himself even further 'persona non grata', Kohn has also attacked the social fixation on 'competition' in school, arguing that it is destructive to the very project--learning--which school is 'supposed' to encourage.

I am a BEEEG fan of Alfie Kohn.


spinoza said...

I think a little homework may be a good thing. Students can learn to use study skills on their own outside of school. But it appears to have morphed into a burden for the entire family. As far as I can remember, I did most of my elementary school homework in the back of class jsut so I wasn't completely bored to tears.

mister pelican said...

A----------men brother!
My 17 year old came home with 3 hours of homework, most of it math. Math teachers have historically gotten hard-ons about homework. Just because they enjoy doing this offal they automatically assume the rest of us do, too! Maybe it's because many of them had no social life as children that they're handing out ,prehumously, divine retribution.
Personally, I blame realtors( pushing the schools/ and the system so they can sell little boxes made of ticky-tacky in "exclusive" areas w / award winning schools, there-by getting fatter commissions( the blood sucking &%#&*^$^) The other culpable party are the state legislators which have nothing better to do than bash the education system which produced ( oddly enough) THEM! When these sons of whale lice remove themselves from the practice of making educational policy, and let people who know what the hell they're doing sculpt sound dogma, we'll start to see happier, better adjusted, and coincidentally, better functionally educated people in the work force, instead of mindless robots who can take a standardized test with the best Swede or Icelander or Japanese, but who can't read an owner's manual. One last thing. I would love to see these
idiots in the state houses across the country survive ONE WEEK of the frankenschools our educational system has become.