Homework or busywork?

Homework or busywork

Is it homework or busywork?

In a presentation, that I had the chance to look at (unfortunately, it is no more online), Marisa Constantinides, teacher educator, tries to answer the following questions about homework:

  • Why do teachers assign homework?
  • What is the rationale behind homework?
  • What considerations should be taken into account when assigning homework?
  • How much of it should be assigned?
  • Does research support it?
  • What are the different types of homework?
  • What are some examples of good homework?

To answer the above questions, it is worthwhile defining what homework is.

What is a homework?

Homework refers to any out-of-class tasks assigned to students as an extension or elaboration of classroom work. There are three major categories of homework:

  • practice,
  • preparation,
  • and extension.

Why homework is needed?

Some of the reasons why homework is assigned:

  • Homework trains learners to study outside the confinement of the classroom. It builds self-discipline and autonomy.
  • It trains learners to use resources such as dictionaries and grammar reference books.
  • It develops problem-solving abilities.
  • It offers a chance for the learners to practice some of the receptive skills such as extensive reading and listening.

Why homework can be busywork?

Why homework can be an unnecessary chore:

  • Kids need time to relax, play, and have fun.
  • Too much homework can result in students copying and cheating.
  • Pointless homework may become busywork.
  • Difficult homework can lead to the development of a negative impression of a subject.

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