Is homework necessary for elementary school students

Homework yes or no? - Scientists: It depends on the involvement

TÜBINGEN. Homework is part of school, but opinions about its usefulness differ among teachers, parents, experts and school politicians alike. If planned sensibly and integrated into the lesson concept, homework can also have its place in modern, individualized lessons. According to a study by the University of Tübingen, however, the students are often carelessly released into dealing with the material at home.

Homework is part of everyday school life. But what often turns out to be a "tough fight at the kitchen table" (Gerlinde Unverzagt) for parents is controversial. For some, homework offers an important stimulus for the students to deal with the subject matter independently and thus forms an important element of the exercise and to consolidate the knowledge acquired in the classroom. For others, on the other hand, like the homework critic Armin Himmelrath, they are an outdated educational ritual that runs counter to individual advancement and promotes educational inequality due to origin.

Overall, scientific studies do not provide any clear results. The well-known educational researcher John Hattie found in his evaluation of educational studies that homework in the language subjects had a slightly positive effect. In mathematics, on the other hand, an effect of home learning was not demonstrable.

Too much homework tends to damage school performance, according to Hattie. A conclusion that researchers from the University of Oviedo also came to. According to the Spanish researchers, regular homework is certainly beneficial for the self-discipline of teenagers. However, these should not exceed one to two hours.

If, on the other hand, the burden of homework is too great, negative effects can also arise. Homework can also help to undermine the motivation to learn. Studies such as those from the Max Plank Institute suggest that homework should be avoided, especially in the early school years.

If the correlation studies offer teachers little support when it comes to the question of “homework yes or no”, in practice this can certainly be seen as an enrichment of the lesson. According to Professor Georg Lind, from the University of Konstanz, homework could be used in preparation for your own teaching strategy, for example.

According to Lind, homework assignments must meet various criteria in order to enable a meaningful domestic follow-up of the subject matter. He, too, thinks they shouldn't be too extensive. In addition, they should not pose unsolvable problems even to pupils in need of support.

In any case, homework requires precise planning in advance, which also requires coordination among colleagues. Many parents can tell you a thing or two about the fact that things are not always good. Because individual homework from different subjects often add up to larger work allotments for the students at home.

Another problem with assigning homework is timing. Lind clearly points out that the task must be conveyed to all students in such a way that they still know what to do at home.

However, homework is often only given at the last minute at the end of the lesson, according to Tübingen's educational scientist Britta Kohler in an empirical study. At 62 Baden-Württemberg high schools, she observed a total of 185 homework assignment situations, mainly in German and mathematics as well as in foreign languages. Often there was not enough time for queries in the specific situation and occasionally the break was even cut,

In the homework literature, Kohler has been criticized for decades, homework is mainly done quickly at the end of the school lesson or even shaken off the sleeve. Learners often only listened with half an ear, did not write down the tasks and would have forgotten them at home. Often the parents step in or you can ask your classmates in the afternoons.

Kohler therefore had the lesson minute recorded in everyday lessons in which homework assignment began and in which it was completed. Variables such as the number of questions asked by students or the frequency with which teachers and learners wrote down were also recorded.

As expected, it was found that homework was mainly given at and even after the end of the lesson. This was the same for 45-minute single lessons as for 90-minute double lessons. The homework assignment situation only took a few minutes on average; on average, only 0.7 questions were asked by students. The later the teachers started giving homework, the shorter it was.

The scientist finds it worrying that around a quarter of the awards went into the break, especially with a view to the health of teachers and students. “Extending lessons into the break robs them of their functions, leads to agitation and makes it difficult to rest and relax. In this way, so-called short breaks can become particularly important in specialist teacher classes at times of particularly high stress and strain. ”However, Kohler does not consider it appropriate to make a hasty and general criticism of teachers. “The amount of time the homework is given and the quality of the situation are not necessarily related. With clear rules and routines in the class and with tasks formulated in writing, homework assignment can also be successful in a short time. "(Zab)

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