KATHMANDU, April 27
To the Editor:
I am a child psychologist and after reading through your article, “Yes, teachers should give homework, the benefits are many” I disagree with your claim that “students who do homework do better in school than those who don’t.”
Through many visits to international schools, in my travels within the country and abroad, I
have visited many schools and interacted with different students. I have also consulted with teachers regarding child psychology and their wellbeing. In fact, when a child is not given homework, they will have the time to revise the subject they find challenging using their own revision strategies or methods which can help them get good grades. Through my research, I have found that good grades and academic success are not derived from doing homework.
Different students have different ways of revising and learning concepts. While homework might be one
of the methods that some students use as a source of revision or practice, other students might find taking notes and revising them, learning from internet sources or a tutor, making index cards and other more efficacious methods, are enough to score good grades. So, you cannot conclude that students that do homework do better in school than those who do not. In my perspective, a student performs badly in academics without revision.
With the aim of making children score high grades, homework might help in developing study habits or
skills, but when children are drained especially from an exhausting day at school they cannot focus or take in much information. This may result in increased stress levels and lower grades, which defeats the purpose.
According to Sandra Levy a Stanford researcher, 56% of the students consider homework as a primary source of stress. When students were asked about stress, more than 70% of students said that one of the main reasons for their stress was assignments and schoolwork. Many researchers found that students have faced health issues like sleep deprivation, weight loss and migraines which conclude that homework does lead to health problems.
Leisure time and playtime are also important for a child’s overall growth. The time kids play outside
has decreased by 40%. Homework does not encourage endeavors. If a child is spending time on homework, they cannot spend that time could to practice hobbies like art, music and sports. Research and surveys have shown that when homework is given, scholars are more likely to drop activities, give less time to extracurricular pursuits and not be very social with family and friends. Sandra Levy after interacting with more than 4300 students, it was found that students felt compelled or obligated to choose homework and assignments over practicing hobbies and skills.
Homework can also encourage cheating on multiple levels. With the click of a button, the internet
hardly takes a minute to find out information about anything. Children can find out answers using different internet links and sources. If there is no internet, then there is a possibility of children copying each other’s work. Using internet sources will make it easy for pupils to plagiarize their work, which affects the academic integrity of the child. Contradicting your statement, 43,000 students from public and private school were surveyed by the Josephson Institute of Youth Ethics, of which36% of the students have copied sentences from internet sources and 59% of the students also cheated in exams. So, is homework the solution for good grades or promoting plagiarism and cheating?
Homework can also come between the student and their revision time for a subject they are not
comfortable with. For example, if a student is not comfortable with physics, this means that the child needs to give more time to physics in order to get the logic, concepts and fundamentals right. If homework is given, the child will not be able to focus on physics because that time has been used up for doing homework.
Good grades and intelligence are not derived from doing homework. There are numerous other ways to
study for exams which can be effective in scoring high grades. After six to seven hours of projects and
assignments, pupils would like to do some outdoor activity, watch TV or do something that is not related to academics. Even if that time is used for studying, a child would like to study something they find challenging and elucidate their doubts. Teachers may aim to make children develop a practice or a study habit but when a child is worn out and needs rest, not much information cannot be processed which can make it onerous.
Thus, homework may have some advantages but the disadvantages outweigh the benefits.
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