Thursday, November 15, 2012

Balancing Homework

My hope is that, by the time this publishes, they won't need any more signatures, but here is the link to sign the petition for the National PTA to adopt and promote homework guidelines.

Interestingly enough, I also came across this post where over 100 people have commented on the question of whether homework interferes with their parenting approach.

I've written time and again my feelings on homework, but I did want to share this approach that one of my instructors uses that I find quite valuable.

We are given the opportunity to do every assignment twice. The first time, along with the grade, he'll give us his notes on how to fix it. The second time, if we implement his changes, we can improve our grade.

This, to me, meets the objectives of homework without undue stress. Even if I struggle the first time, I can get the instructor's input and learn the information I need to know to do it right.

At the beginning of class, he'll address any issues that he saw multiple times; it gives him the chance to clarify and re-teach any concepts we didn't seem to get the first time around. And we get the chance to do it right, which will reinforce the right concepts.

I have seen (and felt) the agony of spending a lot of time doing an assignment wrong, and then getting marked down for it. Unless you're given the chance to re-train your brain, you won't have the confidence that you actually know the material when it comes around next in a quiz or test or even (gasp) real life!

This method actually promotes learning. And isn't that supposed to be the point of homework after all?

I've spoken to some teachers about this method; most seem open to the idea, but are only concerned if they'll have enough time to grade something twice. Of course, each teacher should have the freedom to do what they feels works best.

I think the most viable option if a teacher does not feel they can offer this second chance opportunity is that every student should get points merely for doing the assignment, and the feedback necessary for them to understand what they did wrong.

Homework might not feel so dreadful if it actually gives a student the opportunity to learn.

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