Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rethinking Homework Pt. 2

As I mentioned in our first reflection, I feel the reading of this book
and the follow-up discussions have been very productive.  I also believe
that this book study has reaffirmed many of the thoughts that I have on
homework.  Undoubtedly, we all agree that there are many ways in which
homework can be assigned to students and it will positively impact
students' learning.  However, I think we need to be more deliberate and
calculated in making homework assignments so that we provide the needed
practice and avoid the potential of negative implications.  How much is
enough vs. How much is too much?  I think the discussion can and will go
on forever...  My opinion is that in the case of many homework situations,
“less is more”.  A quote from the book that I think illustrates this
point is, “For many kids, homework is like having to do their taxes every
night.  How would we feel if we came home to hours of work from five
different bosses?  At least some of us would quit or enter therapy-which
is where some of our children now find themselves.” (p.32)
I also believe that giving students timely and accurate feedback is
critical to the learning process.  I think that in going forward, we
should have open discussion on what it is students actually need from us.
I know that in my case, I taught students many lessons, I collected many
assignments, I corrected my share of papers and returned the students'
papers with a score at the top of the page.  Within this cycle, I focused
a great deal of my effort and attention on teaching and learning to teach
well.  To my chagrin, I have since learned that to best reach students you
need to focus on the learning as much as the teaching.  In John Hattie’s
book, Visible Learning, he states, “The major message is simple-what
teachers do matters.  However, this has become a cliché that masks the
fact that the greatest source of variance in our system relates to
teachers-they can vary in major ways.  The codicil is that what “some”
teachers do matters-especially those who teach in a most deliberate and
visible manner.  When these professionals see learning occurring or not
occurring, they intervene in calculated and meaningful ways to alter the
direction of learning to attain various shared, specific, and challenging
goals.  In particular, they provide students with multiple opportunities
and alternatives for developing learning strategies based on the surface
and deep levels of learning some content or domain matter, leading to
student building conceptual understand of this learning which the student
and teacher then use in future learning.” (p.22-23)  In the age of greater
accountability and high stakes assessments, the process of homework has to
consist of more than assigning tasks, hoping that the assignments are
returned/completed, correcting the papers, writing the students’ scores at
the top of the page, handing back the papers and moving on to the next

No comments:

Post a Comment