Parents and students rejoice as teacher Brandy Young decided to cancel homework for her second-grade class for the entire school year at Godley Elementary School in Johnson County, Texas. The idea of her new homework policy came to her after doing extensive research during the summer and learning that homework is not linked to student success. She sent a note to the parents and one of them was so pleased to hear the news that she posted the letter on Facebook.
Mom Samantha Gallagher’s post has more than 67,400 shares and she wrote in the caption that her daughter is “loving her new teacher already!” according to a report by Fox News. The first to report that the post had gone viral was KXAS-TV.
Young passed her letter to parents at the school’s “Meet the Teacher Night” and explained her decision to ban homework.
“After much research this summer, I am trying something new. Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year,” Young’s message read.
The only homework her students will have to do will consist of work they could not finish during the school day.
She also wrote that student performance is not improved by homework at all according to previous research. However, she did not mean that she wanted students to waste their time instead of doing homework. The teacher specified what she wanted them to eat dinner as a family and asked parents to encourage their children to spend the evenings doing things that are proven to help develop academic skills, including reading together, playing outside and going to bed early.
Young told CBS that students need to learn other things when they go home after school and remarked it was not good for them to continue doing pencil and paper work following the hard work they had done all day. She explained her idea was to develop their “whole person”.
Parents and colleagues praised Young’s policy
The innovative policy received a lot of praise from parents. Gallagher, who said she was glad her daughter had a teacher who was willing to work on new methods for the benefit of her students, said her family was planning to spend more time together in the evenings and that Brook, her child, would have more time to invest in gymnastics.
The post has a bunch of comments from parents who welcomed Young’s interest in promoting quality time between students and their families.
Gallagher noted that many respondents were educators interested in learning more about Young and how to implement her new homework policy themselves.
Glyn Jenkins, a Sound Prep Academy teacher who has been teaching for 15 years, said during an interview with Seattle’s King 5 that the policy was “absolutely justifiable”. She added that such a letter home at the beginning of the year was great to set the expectation.
“It is important that kids know that it isn’t all about work. With school work and learning, where does one end and the other begin?” said Jenkins.
What the research says
Homework seems to be more associated with performance on standardized tests than with better course grades for math and science students, according to a study conducted by an Indiana University School of Education faculty member in Bloomington. The research, published in The High School Journal in 2012 and reviewed months later on Indiana University Bloomington’s website for research, revealed that homework was not being used as it should be.
Researcher Adam Maltese, assistant professor of science education in the IU School of Education, and his co-authors concluded that there should be a clear purpose for doing homework and both the teacher and the students must understand it. Co-author Robert H. Tai, associate professor of science education at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, remarked that more is not better when it comes to homework.
“If homework is going to be such an important component of learning in American schools, it should be used in some way that’s more beneficial,” Maltese said, according to the report published on Indiana University Bloomington’s website for research . “More thought needs to be given to this, rather than just repeating problems already done in class.”
The Center for Public Education posted in 2007 a report which included a series of myths about homework. The first one is that homework increases academic achievement, which was refuted by researcher Cooper in 1989 as he said that previous studies had contradicted one another given that they had been designed so differently it was impossible to evaluate them fairly against the findings of others. In other words, by that time it was not easy to determine whether homework improved student success.
The second myth addressed in the report was that the lack of excessive homework caused student’s test scores to fail to be internationally competitive. However, when looking at data from international assessments it becomes clear that there is little association between test scores and the amount of homework assigned to students. For instance, Japanese and Finnish students outperform U.S. students on tests even though they are assigned less homework, according to 2004 information from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.
And the third myth has to do with people who question homework as an important aspect of academic improvement. Kralovec and Buell (2001) pointed out that homework critics focused their attention on the fact that students frequently do their homework without adults who can help in the learning process rather than on the work assigned itself.
The debate is still open.
Source: The Washington Post
One thought on “Texas teacher bans homework after research that says it is unnecessary”
A SIMPLE TRUTH
Godfried Bomans (1913-1971)*
Today is the first Tuesday in September. Fatal day! When I was young it was the first school day after the Summer vacation and although my final exams are more than thirty years in the past, I still get cramps in my stomach and cold sweat pours out of my body by the very remembrance of that day.
In our town (Haarlem, Netherlands) the school year started with a solemn Mass in the famed St. Bavo Church. The physical education teacher would start the hymns with a loud, powerful voice and would continue on his own for at least one more strophe, when everybody else had finished singing. The History teacher placed a penny in the collection plate and with this simple gesture perpetuated his nickname as the “Miser” for one more year. And the Rector (Principal) trumpeted as usually into his large, red handkerchief, oblivious to the fact that with that action he once more confirmed his pseudonym as the “The Toreador.”
We gazed upon the backs of the teachers and noticed that their necks were markedly more tanned then had been the case before the Summer, but when they sat down for the Sermon and pulled up the pants legs of their gray flannel suits, one saw that their legs above the suspenders showed the ethereal whiteness of intellectuals who never managed anything more than a careful wading along the shore. In short, the new school year had begun.
And as I now contemplate what caused the constriction in our throats and the nausea in our stomachs, it was not, in the first place the thought of school by itself. Of course, the outlook was not pleasant. We realized that we would once again spend six hours per day in a brick building, where the teaching staff was instructed to impart as many facts as possible, while the understanding of those facts and the independent thought about the information poured into us, was kept completely out of the curriculum. Such a perspective, that at the very least would stretch out over six years (ages 12-18), although hardly encouraging, could be faced with the realization that almost all grown-ups spent their day doing things they would probably rather not do, either.
But what caused anxiety and pain was the realization that that was not all. After such a daily grind (and six hours sitting and listening is a task I find too heavy, even for adults) the work started all over again. And not just for a while, but for three and four hours and in the periods before exams and promotion to the next grade the extra time could easily stretch until midnight, or later.
This concept, which still exists, is called “home work.” The result is that the “normal” work day of a teenager is around ten hours per day.
I do not hesitate to say with complete sincerity, that the work day for Middle and High School students is a national disgrace and at the same time I voice my amazement that nobody, no Secretary of Education, no Member of Congress, has ever spoken out against this unbearable situation.
This complete ignorance for what puberty needs, this nailing down to a desk in school and then to a table at home for young people, who in the formative years of their youth need freedom of movement and exercise, persists … year after year.
And what amazes me most of all is that the parents take this in stride. How many times have I heard a father say to a child who just wants to relax, work on a hobby, or wants to participate in a sports event: “You better make sure you have finished your home work first.” It is the slogan in every family.
Does the man realize that the child has already put in a full day’s work? How would the parent feel if his employer came by his home late in the evening to give him some extra work? He would, rightly, tell him to take a hike. But why do we find obvious for ourselves, what we deny our youth?
Why is it that all parties in the debate are fully occupied with shortening the work week for adults and that nobody stands up and demands this for a sector of our Society that hasn’t even achieved an 8-hour work day. Why do we look upon the “normal” work days from before 1918 with amazed horror and wonder that man survived? But why do we allow the predicament to continue for our own children? I’m just asking. I don’t ask in order to create disharmony in millions of households; I ask it to highlight a problem under which millions of defenseless children suffer every day. And I also ask, because nobody else asks.
Of course, this problem should be solved by people more knowledgeable than I. I gladly declare myself their inferior. But what do these education experts do? They discuss splinters, not the plank. It is not a matter of how much Greek to add, or how much Algebra to subtract. That comes under the heading of “fine tuning” and can be discussed later.
The primary concern is the abomination of “home work.” As long as this unfair and unrighteous condition is in existence, every other overhaul of the education system is valueless. We are left with students that remain uninterested, no matter what is offered, simply because it is too much and too overwhelming. All this talk about the quality of education overlooks the most obvious truth: there’s something wrong with the quantity.
What do we expect? That a youth will be interested in something that robs him of his childhood and leisure hours? That he remain enthusiastic when he sees Dad read the paper after dinner and then spend a few hours in front of the TV set, while the child still faces four, or five subjects that simply have to be done by the next morning.
Really! Only geniuses, or Saints can achieve that. And, I’m guessing here, your child probably does not fall into either of these categories. But we daily confront our children with a task that exceeds their powers by several magnitudes.
The school bell tolls, but for whom?
* Godfried Bomans, Ph.D, earned three Doctorate Degrees (Jurisprudence, Education and Netherlands Literature) and has written poetry and more than 200 books (fiction and non-fiction) and thousands of newspaper and magazine articles. He has been invested as a Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau.