Does Homework Help Students Evolve or Slow Them Down?
by Balbeer Kaur (India), the first winner at the Sixth NinjaEssays Writing Contest
One of the most sensitive topics among student of all ages, as well as their parents and teachers, is the issue of homework. I say issue because, after all, I am a student who doesn't like to do homework after spending an entire day in school, and then going home just so I can bury my nose in textbooks yet again. But, before you accuse me of being too subjective, take a moment to consider a "revolutionary" idea. Instead of helping us perform better, homework may be actually slowing students down.
There are several reasons that support my theory on this. First of all, after spending all day sitting in class, reading, actively paying attention, and actually learning and acquiring new information, students are tired, with their attention span getting smaller with each new hour they are required to stay focused. The situation is comparable to those experimental 6-hour work days in Sweden, and there is a raft of research available on that to prove that those employees which spend less hours at work are actually more productive, more focused, and much happier than their colleagues doing 40 hours a week or working overtime.
Second of all, our homework assignment and textbooks, in most cases, are not suited for our age. There are more than handful of situation where either myself, or my fellow students, have asked out parents to step in and helpful, only to witness them struggling as well, even though they have been through it all. If they are finding it hard to handle, how are we supposed to complete it? Your average textbooks appears to be written by a person who is completely out of touch with how students think, learn, and talk.
Of course, we understands that it is up to our teachers to expand our horizons, and broaden our vocabularies, among other things, but our books are full of pages and paragraphs which take multiple readings in order to be understood fully, just because language is not suited for the academic level we are currently at. As a consequence, my fellow students and I are sometimes forced to simply memorize the aforementioned paragraphs, instead of trying to understand and rationalize them, which means there is very little learning involved.
And the situation inside the school isn't much better either, because academic excellence has become synonymous with our ability to memorize and reproduce texts. Instead of being taught and stimulated to think and challenge ourselves, we are suffocated and buried with more work each day. So, after spending an entire day inside an environment which is less than inspiring, we are then supposed to go home, and work on the same stuff yet again, but this time we are supposed to it on our own.
I am not completely against homework, because it allows us to develop good working habits and discipline, which will serve us well later in life, but I am against homework which is a product of a poorly set-up system that hasn't changed since the invention of public education during the industrial revolution.
Perhaps it would be better to adjust, or just tweak the current school system, so that it's more up-to-date, more rooted in the present. With all this modern technology available at our fingertips, both literally and figuratively, very
little has been done to integrate it inside the classroom, and make our lives as students better. Education technology is one of the fastest growing areas in IT, and students, teachers, and even parents can benefit a lot from it.Learning apps and tools can help us be more productive in class, or even with our homework, and there would be very little training needed, because we are all on our tablets, smartphones, and laptop the entire day anyways.
Schools need to be places where we can work out our brains, and once we get home, we should clear our minds and let all that new information we have learned that day or week settle. Also, we should rest, so that we are focused and productive the next day, and we can't do that if there is a never-ending stream of homework being sent our way on a daily basis. Help us change this.