Homework serves a definite purpose as a learning tool

Teachers give homework to assist the students’ understanding and enhance their level of achievement in any given academic subject.

Homework is a grievously misunderstood activity. The myth prevails that there is a correlation between homework and the personality of the teacher. It is not uncommon to hear such negative comments as, “He is strict and he gives tons of homework” or “She is nice and hardly ever gives homework.” Complaining students and disgruntled parents would feel more at peace with the situation if the reasons for homework were understood.

There are four identifiable reasons for homework. All are in the best interest of the student. Teachers assign homework based on the following criteria:

Review what has been learned

The period of time spent on one subject in the classroom setting does not allow for comprehensive review of the new material presented. One of the components of successful learning is review and practice of the lesson. Teachers use classroom time to thoroughly explain new material and then assign to the student the responsibility of reviewing and practicing what has been presented in order to insure maximum comprehension.

Preparation for future lessons

Often a lesson plan will call for the teacher to give preparatory homework in anticipation of forthcoming lessons. Classroom time is at a premium and independent reading will often be required for discussions which will take place the next day in the classroom. When the student uses homework time to read and absorb the material beforehand, the teacher can count on the students to participate in discussion and debate and thus achieve a livelier and more pertinent classroom presentation.

Reinforce what has been taught

Classroom presentation does not always allow time for practice of the newly acquired knowledge. Again, with time at a premium, it makes more sense to use classroom time for imparting the lesson and homework to put into practice what has been learned.

Measure what has been learned

Homework often serves as the measure of the success of a classroom presentation of new material. By giving students work to be done independently at home and brought in for grading and correction, the teacher is better able to calculate what has been accomplished by her teaching methods and what needs further follow up.

No matter how inconvenient homework is for the student and busy parents, there is a method to the teacher’s “madness.” Homework is not just some frivolous activity doled out at the teacher’s whim. It is part of an entire lesson plan on a given subject and designed to support the other components of the lesson plan.

A lesson plan generally consists of a presentation of new material with visual aids, classroom discussion including a question and answer period, written exercises, and independent reading and review, otherwise known as homework.

Homework is a crucial part of the lesson plan. It is the opportunity for the teacher to measure if her techniques are successful and determine whether the students can advance with the subject, or remedial activity is necessary before moving on. It also assists the teacher in determining which students have grasped the lesson and which students require additional help and attention.

Homework has a three part component of responsibility:

Teacher responsibility

To assign appropriate homework to correlate with the lesson plan.

To collect the completed homework and review or grade.

To plan future lessons based on the student level of understanding as evidenced by the completed homework.

Student responsibility

To have a clear understanding of what is expected on a particular homework assignment.

To spend the appropriate amount of time and effort on completing the assignment.

To turn in the completed work by the due date.

Parental responsibility

To provide a comfortable, quiet, well lit area for their child to do homework.

To ensure distractions and outside activities of their own or the students do not interfere or take priority over completing the homework assignment.

To be respectful of the teacher’s goals and voice any concern or displeasure about homework directly to the teacher or school administration, rather than to the child.

By modeling respect and support for the teacher’s efforts on behalf of their child, the parents are teaching the student appropriate behavior when faced with responsibility. The proper attitude and communication displayed by parents concerning homework will reap far reaching benefits for their child.

Homework has a definite purpose as a learning tool.