At the beginning of every academic year a great deal is written in various publications on the topic of homework. Some of the education opinion-piece writers argue strongly that homework is an ineffective means of improving academic performance. Some go as far as to suggest that homework has a negative impact because it turns other children off school and causes tension between parents and their children. I agree with some of the criticisms of homework: excessive amounts of homework are counterproductive; it is not a case of more is better; homework without a clear purpose, e.g. ‘busy’ work, is of little value.
However, there is ample evidence from research and experience indicating that homework can increase learning and achievement. That is why it remains an important part and an expectation of the learning process for all North Geelong SC students. Please see school policy on “homework” on the school’s website.
There are many benefits that flow from completing regular, relevant homework. Homework helps students develop sound study skills and habits. By undertaking regular homework, students develop self-discipline and time-management skills, and begin to take responsibility for their own learning.
Homework supplements and reinforces work done in class. Revising work covered in class during the day greatly aids understanding and memory; the Ebbinghaus curve (The forgetting curve illustrates the decline of memory retention in time. A related concept is the strength of memory that refers to the durability that memory traces in the brain. The stronger the memory, the longer period of time that a person is able to recall it. A typical graph of the forgetting curve shows that humans tend to halve their memory of newly learned knowledge in a matter of days or weeks unless they consciously review the learned material) underlines the role that ‘re-visiting’ material plays in retention and recall of information. Homework of this type usually consists of written tasks, reading, drill work and memorisation.
Homework can also be used to extend students’ skills and understanding in areas that cannot be covered in limited class time. Extension activities usually take the form of longer projects which are an expansion of work covered in class, or problem-solving activities which may take several days or weeks to complete.
At North Geelong SC students always have homework irrespective of their Year Level. Students understand that homework is not simply the work set by their subject teacher; it is also work that the student needs to do to ensure that the day’s lessons are absorbed, previous work revised, preparation is made for new units of work, and assignments are completed by the due date.
The role of the parent in homework is to support and help students. Students need to be provided with the environment and resources necessary to undertake homework and to establish a regular routine for school work done at home. However, parents must never forget that homework is set for the student, and that teachers need to see what students can do on their own. Parents should also be aware if their child is spending too long on homework tasks. Students should be encouraged to take regular breaks so they feel refreshed and ensure their study time is affective. Learning does not only take place in the classroom during scheduled lesson times. Homework plays an important part in learning also. Please call the school and talk to your child’s Home Group Teacher, Coordinator or a Principal Class Officer, if there are any issues with your child’s homework.