Is there any point to homework?

Reports published by the OECD indicate that young people in the UK are set more homework than those in Finland, Germany, Sweden and Austria – but is there any point to homework? A survey by Debate.org reported that 79% of those who took part in the survey thought that homework was pointless and only 21% thought that homework was useful.Tom Bennett, writing for the Times Educational Supplement (TES) has argued that much of the homework set for young people to complete is pointless, is of no educational value to them and simply robs them of time that could be spent with family.Obviously the quality of the homework set will determine how useful homework as an activity is or whether it’s just been set for the sake of saying that homework has been assigned and it would probably be a bit strong to suggest that all homework is pointless. It’s not just about the task set either, many people will argue that being assigned tasks that you have to complete alone helps young people to develop their time management skills and to learn self-discipline.For others, the problem with homework is the amount that young people are asked to complete, which means that for the conscientious student, they get very little time to relax with family and friends and to develop important social skills.Time with family is also important for maintaining healthy relationships outside of school. For some, the problem with homework is that is blurs the line between work and home life and at a time when many working parents struggle to keep work and life separate, having their children subjected to the same stresses might be seen as a very bad thing indeed.One of the other issues with homework is that some young people have parents with both the skills and the time to sit and coach them – others simply do not. The same goes for homework tasks set that require a computer or the internet for completion. Not only do some young people not have access to a computer or the internet, parents are also being told to restrict the amount of time that their children spend on computers and indeed on the internet –seems like a lose / lose situation to me.Equally, not all young people have their own space to work in. Many children have either household chores to complete or part-time jobs that they cannot afford to do without. This is particularly problematic when teachers set homework tasks that involve learning a topic, freeing up class time for other topics; if some young people cannot complete the task, then their grades could suffer.

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