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Surprising Pros and Cons of Homework

23 Jun 2019

Originally starting as a punishment for students who did not obey during classes, homework has always been disliked by students from all over the world. Whether it is because of a fear of not getting tasks done right or not wishing to study once the school reaches its off hours, there are obvious pros and cons of homework. While educators, parents, and healthcare specialists participate in hot debates regarding most efficient initiatives about countless homework tasks received by modern students, there is no solution that would satisfy everyone’s concerns. As advanced technologies, social media, and portable electronic devices replace print textbooks and handwritten assignments, the role of homework, as we know it, transforms as well. Paving the way towards new educational challenges, assignments gradually adjust to different realities.

10 Advantages of Homework

Examining the advantages of homework, most people think of discipline and learning how to work individually without a teacher's guidance. Still, there are far more reasons why school assignments have made it successfully across generations:

  1. Practice Skills. Homework, even if it is quite challenging, allows to practice writing, analytical, reading skills. Following task after task, a student learns how to obey specific rules and academic exceptions. Each assignment is usually composed by educators who intentionally place extra challenges so they see how student copes with the understanding of instructions by practicing, once solutions have been found.
  2. Discipline. Since assignments are obligatory, it keeps school and college students disciplined. If classroom material has been missed or understood incorrectly, homework gives a chance to re-read the textbooks and seek suitable answers to questions at the end of each paragraph. This way person keeps up with school discipline rules.
  3. Study Habits. One of the most important things is learning particular habits. It is especially important for younger school students who are only getting used to different subjects and new information. In other words, homework allows to remain within the same learning environment. As the games and leisure activities help switch the child’s mind, homework still reminds of school, keeping the brain’s attention span active.
  4. Time Management. It’s one of the most important pros of homework. Most students will claim that homework does not let them do other things. Nevertheless, it still helps to manage time. Once there is an outline for tasks that should be done, it becomes much easier to plan different activities. Assuming that school takes a central part in a daily routine, fun or free hours should be planned.
  5. Personal Research. Another important benefit is research, which is especially relevant for school projects. Unlike cases when the teacher provides strict instructions or a textbook has clear guidelines, creative projects often require research. This way students examine the information at the local library or cooperate with friends for a delivery of an excellent paper.
  6. Preparation for College. College life with its endless list of complex graded or ungraded assignments should not come as a surprise if school life includes the same assignments, which should be finished for lessons the next morning. While basic tasks given by school teacher can be missed, college is totally different since there will be definite deadlines or penalties for not submitting course tasks.
  7. Individuality. Those who defend home assignments mention individuality, which means that if all students must complete the same task, there is enough space for each person to show personal skills or extra knowledge on a particular topic. Educators, in their turn, examine strong and weak sides of each learner to see whether additional training or extra tasks must be added.
  8. Learning to Follow Instructions. Another side why homework is still important is explained by included textbook instructions. Considering the development of cognitive skills, teachers see if students follow the initial guidelines. If a teacher considers that there is already some theoretical knowledge, the role of instructions becomes more important. Asking questions, seeking solutions, learners read through paragraphs again, writing down key ideas and argumentation.
  9. Allowing Teachers To Take Control. Homework is a unique method, which helps teachers evaluate students and see their progress through the educational curriculum. Once there is a particular problem identified, educators contact specialists or have a conversation with a person in question. If there are no tasks to check up with, it would be extremely difficult to trace academic results. Same applies to papers that have not been submitted. Teacher may require another submission or revision. Asking for additional work, college professors point out crucial mistakes or suggest additional editing.
  10. Self-evaluation. Those that motivate students to get their homework completed insist that it is a great self-evaluation tool, which helps identify subjects that are more appealing or most challenging. In other words, student sees what to choose in the future or works harder in subjects that are more difficult. For example, if one chooses chemistry and approaches it as a preferred major, completing normal tasks, student requests extra assignments for additional course credits.

Finally, homework’s presence and hard work help to achieve high GPA levels, which is requested by most educational institutions. Researching homework pros and cons, it is still necessary to rely upon existing systems instead of exploring totally new solutions.

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10 Disadvantages of Homework

Speaking of negative sides, most people will discuss healthcare concerns, excessive learning volumes, and lack of addressing individual needs. While it is partially true, there is insufficient research that would approach most of the points mentioned below:

  1. Anxiety & Stress - this is a top con of homework. The major concerns with students’ health are increased stress, fear, and anxiety when discussing homework assignments. If there is a lack of clarity and understanding, it causes negative emotions, discouragement for a particular subject, and depression. In some cases, it makes children feel ashamed and uncertain in their abilities. Even the slightest thing missed can make the student feel frightened, leaving no space for learning or creative exploration. Considering that there are the same routines in most subjects, levels of stress only increase as no proper attention is paid to every subject.
  2. Encourages Cheating - it is no secret that everyone wants to get things finished as soon as possible without reading through lecture notes or textbooks. Thanks to the Internet, learners share exam answers, which fosters cheating and serious plagiarism issues. While exams are another matter, answers to curriculum studies posted online make homework useless. Since there is virtually no control over such cases, even bright students might get blamed for academic dishonesty.
  3. Health Concerns for Younger Children - with a healthy balance between play and study, writing and reading tasks can bring serious concerns about health, especially for little kids. It is no wonder that more and more schools choose homework bans, switching to alternative learning methods or hours amount. As an example, Montreal elementary school decided to free children from home tasks. According to officials, young children should not spend six hours writing at school and have at least two hours being busy with unguided assignments as it only increases lack of sleep and stress.
  4. Different Learning Needs - it is a known fact that every child learns differently, which requires either total elimination of after-school tasks or personal routine methods. In practice, such a solution would not be possible because of the inability to trace individual classroom progress. Canadian educators believe that up to sixth grade there is no need for placing students under the same learning rules.
  5. Lack of Alternatives - if one approaches Montessori or Waldorf schools with no homework per se, it becomes relevant that free time can be given to special projects that are not obligatory. Once the teacher inspires students for teamwork or college projects, there is no more need to keep things forced. If there are graded tasks, there should be several alternative options as teacher checks acquired knowledge. Regardless of the subject, there must be age-appropriate projects, which motivate for additional research.
  6. Creation of Educational Limits - the majority of modern courses follow curriculum with a list of course questions. Essentially, it already brings specific limits. For example, a classroom lecture in Mechanical Engineering may revolve around robotics theory with little being said about the software side. Then student checks textbook question and sees that it discusses robotics with a focus on programming code.
  7. Lack of Assignment Guidance - the worst part is the lack of home guidance. Far not all students approach college help centers or seek homework help from siblings or friends. Assignments given beyond school are supposed to inspire individuality, yet in reality, it only brings mental barriers since the only thing that matters is getting work completed in time.
  8. Barriers to Creative Endeavors - A reason why the majority of schools adjust their curriculum hours is lack of creative freedom. A reason for such decision is a small number of projects that go beyond the textbooks. Learning process should be interesting in the first place where an individual can shine with their knowledge, experience, and skills.
  9. Lack of Time - although tasks finished beyond the classroom are meant to help with time-management and discipline, and most students complain that there is almost no spare time for proper leisure and fun.
  10. Diverse Learning Pace - everyone needs a unique approach. An average student may have to repeat something, while others skip already mastered the subject. Due to individual pace, disadvantages of homework are also in the fact that it cannot fully address personal academic progress of each student.

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