Why should homework be banned 3

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What is the use of homework?

Whether homework is useful is controversial. New studies show: They even harm some. New Zealand educator John Hattie is considered a reference in this field. In his book “Make learning visible” he compiled findings from over 50,000 studies with more than 80 million students. He wanted to find out which prerequisites and conditions help children to learn.

Factors that promote learning success are, for example, a good student-teacher relationship or certain learning techniques such as repetitive reading. Homework, on the other hand, only promotes learning success very little. And even this one little benefit should be viewed with caution. Because it depends on the amount of time that the students have to invest in their homework. The more effort, the lower the profit, is Hattie's conclusion. On average, older and higher-performing students would benefit in particular.

Armin Himmelrath has also examined countless studies for his book "Homework, no thanks". «From a scientific point of view there is not a single study that shows that performance or knowledge can be increased by systematically doing homework »he sums up. "On the contrary: experiences of self-efficacy, increased motivation, self-structuring usually fall by the wayside."

Abolish homework?

Educators at universities have long been advocating the abolition of homework. As a “holy cow” that must not be shaken, as one "Pills with almost exclusively negative side effects" it means a lecturer at a technical college. He wants to remain anonymous for fear of repression. There is no need for homework, he says, you can safely leave it out. Because: The students would not be smarter or more stupid.

"Teachers can use it to compensate for the different working speeds of the students."

Teachers about why it takes homework

Teachers, educators at the front, are also questioning traditional homework. In researching this dossier, we spoke to countless teachers who Try to integrate homework in new forms. Some examples:

  • A middle school teacher infiltrates the system by rarely giving her students homework. Instead she says: go out, play!
  • A high school teacher teaches in work units in which tasks are integrated. His teammates record all their tasks on a large board. This prevents children from having to do three homework on some days and none at all on other days.
  • One teacher believes that the topic cannot be killed because teachers can use homework to compensate for the different working speeds of the students. When children catch up with the material at home, the next day the teacher can show the same speed and level in the entire study group. Abolishing homework would therefore mean fundamentally changing teaching. Many are not ready for this.

Personalized homework

The quality of the homework is also crucial. According to Ulrich Trautwein from the University of Tübingen, it is a decisive factor for a learning and school career. In mathematics, for example, the learning success is higher if the teachers are also interested in the solution, even if it shows errors.

The same effect is achieved when students have to think about something new while doing homework. And S.Students stated that they were convinced of the usefulness of homework if they felt it was well prepared and integrated into the classroom.

In today's student world, this means one thing above all else: Customization. «Homework should be personalized. The teachers should pick up the students where they are, ”says Christoph Schmid, professor at the University of Education in Zurich. Because students are sometimes overrated when it comes to independence and discipline. "The purpose of homework is so that the children gain confidence in their skills and have a sense of achievement."

This is part of everyday life in some schools. The German comprehensive school Barmen in Wuppertal received the German School Prize in 2015 because it enables “everyone to reach their goal”, as the laudatory speech said. There the school lesson lasts 60 instead of 45 minutes. Homework is hours of work, not attached to class, but at 10.30 a.m., two to three times a week. The tasks that the students have to solve are tailor-made. When they are done, there is a cross in the student logbook. Parents sign this booklet every week and learn how their child is progressing.

In a school in Aargau, teachers have built mixed-class teaching units and learning studio lessons that are permanently integrated into the timetable, in which students work on their assignments. At home there should only be time for exam preparation.





When is homework prohibited?

In Switzerland, homework is not allowed from morning to afternoon, from the day before a public holiday to the next school day or during the holidays. Whether they are permitted over the weekend and over a free afternoon, for example, is a matter of dispute. The school regulations of the canton of Zug, for example, stipulate that they are banned from Friday to Monday, while the canton of Zurich handles this more loosely.

Experts agree that they should not be given a free afternoon because this contradicts the children's right to relaxation and leisure. "Children also deserve the evening," says Gabriel Romano, educational scientist, in an interview. All the more so since the number of lessons has increased to such an extent that homework would have been superfluous because the students learned enough during the day: "Elementary school is a full-time job."



Homework at school - what alternatives are there already?

A few years ago, a parent-teacher group was founded in the Neuheim ZG community, which among other things offers free homework supervision for primary school children twice a week. In 2010, the Bäumlihof grammar school in Basel started teaching entire classes without a timetable and replaced homework with schoolwork. These are done in the so-called individual learning time. The so-called task assistance or task hour in the after-school care center has already established itself in many schools. Children can do tasks and test preparations with qualified staff after regular lessons or as an optional subject. The task assistance is not free everywhere.



Grade doping through tutoring

Another aspect of the homework discussion is that an entire industry lives from the work that teachers delegate: the tutoring market. It would shrink considerably without homework. Every third student in Switzerland needs tutoring to complete homework and exams. The tutoring rate in the 8th and 9th grade has risen from almost 30 to 34 percent within three years, as the educational researcher Stefan Wolter said in an interview with the “Sonntags Zeitung”. A total of 63,000 young people have to go to school after lessons are over. But only high-earning people can do that: Parents in Switzerland turn over “100 to 300 million francs” every year for note doping at the upper level, estimates education expert Wolter.



Order magazine on the topic

You will find many more reports in our magazine 04/17 on the subject of homework. For example, find out what kids really think about homework. Order the magazine here.



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