The Homework Debate


As a  middle-school teacher, the issue of assigning homework was something I always grappled with. I often wondered:  When assigning homework, were my students really making the connections they were meant to be? Was the homework only helping the stronger students? Was the homework meaningful to the student’s learning? Was it at the appropriate level for them to complete independently? Was it fair to assign homework when I knew many of my students had other familial responsibilities? Would my class not be considered rigorous if I didn’t assign homework?

Alberta high school math teacher, David Martin, has grappling with some of the same issues. He feels homework seems to “buoy the strong and discourage the weak.” So, he has recently stopped assigning homework altogether.

An excerpt from the article presents common arguments for each side of the debate:

The news reinvigorated a debate about the value of homework — a conversation that has bubbled up and receded over the past five to seven years, gaining converts along the way. Even still, the issue remains divisive, with some parents campaigning hard for a homework-free experience that would give them their life back — and others worried about their children falling behind or failing to learn the discipline and time management required in high school and beyond. As one Collège de Saint-Ambroise parent said, “I’ll see how the year goes, but I’m very afraid. Homework is a way for us parents to evaluate whether things are going well, and to guide us in helping and supporting them.”

 What are your thoughts on assigning homework?

 Link to the full article:

1 thought on “The Homework Debate

  1. Ahh, homework… I have never assigned much homework, but this year, I started offering optional homework at times. Over the summer, I came across a blog post, linked below, and was intrigued by the idea. The past few weeks, I have given homework to reinforce skills covered in class and posted answers on my class blog. Students who feel they need more practice are able to complete the assignment and use the answers either to help them figure out what to do when they struggle or to check their work. It has been great. The kids have really responded to the idea. I am sure that some who should do the work are deciding not to do it, but these are the same kids who probably wouldn’t do the work even if it was required.

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