No one likes homework. Students despise it. Teachers hate the extra burden it places on their time when it comes time to grade homework. And, for younger children, there’s not much research showing that homework is effective in the learning process. So why do kids have so much busywork to do after school?
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Brandy Young, a second-grade teacher in Texas, sent home a note home with parents on “Meet the Teacher Night” last week. Here’s what it said:
Samantha Gallagher’s daughter is lucky enough to be in the class. Gallagher took a photo of a note and posted it to Facebook, where it has gone viral.
The note recused Young’s students from homework, but also had a pointed message for parents. It urges them to “eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.”
Young explained her process in an interview with CBS:
[Students] work hard all day. When they go home they have other things they need to learn there. I’m trying to develop their whole person; it’s not beneficial to go home and do pencil and paper work.
Alfie Kohn, vocal opponent of homework, wrote the book on homework: The Homework Myth. The book argues that the positive effects of homework are largely unsupported, while the negative effects are well documented. Homework neither reinforces learning outcomes, nor does it improve test scores.Taking away stress factors accomplishes both.
For younger students, in fact, there isn’t even a correlation between whether children do homework (or how much they do) and any meaningful measure of achievement. At the high school level, the correlation is weak and tends to disappear when more sophisticated statistical measures are applied.
Young’s students are clearly in favor of the new policy. There’s been no push-back from them. It is worth noting, though, that the no-homework policy for these second graders flies in the face of what many educators consider sacrosanct.
Will Young’s bold step catch on, or alienate her from her peers? That has yet to be determined. One thing is for certain, though, and that’s this: she’s popular with her students.