Thursday, February 14, 2008

Coming to a Classroom Near You: The Homework Debate Redux

Coming to a Classroom Near You: The Homework Debate Redux

Oh, no—not again! Just when I was ready to crawl under a rock to protect myself from the stupidity of public education—I’m an educator by the way, the ever-hideous homework debate, courtesy of stupid-dome, crash lands yet again on the shores of reality. My protective rock is gone—and so is a bit of my sanity.

Those who make the case against homework claim that it doesn’t help. Rather, they allege that it detracts students from their families, from their extra-curricular activities, from their jobs, and, oh lord, from their social lives. Theorists posit that there’s no solid connection between homework and academic achievement, especially in grade school. Sure, the theorists may have a point with excessive homework at the elementary level; the little ones can only develop so fast after all. But they certainly could benefit from age-appropriate practice at home, so let’s not go crazy.

What is CRAZY is how some theorists extend their arguments to middle and high school students, who desperately need as much practice with skill development and content acquisition as possible. Certainly, any excessive and irrelevant homework assignments may turn students off, as the theorists suggest. But manageable amounts and relevant homework could certainly benefit students as they prepare for more complex learning that awaits them in college, in the work force, and in our ever-changing, advanced technological world.

Has anyone looked into how BADLY American high school students under-perform compared to students from other industrialized nations? Has anyone wondered why so many colleges and universities nowadays must offer prerequisite, developmental courses because so many “college age” students cannot test into the standard, beginning 101 courses? Has anyone considered the relationship involving the high failure rates of college freshmen, student preparedness and readiness, and the serious homework demands of an undergraduate education?

Approximately six months ago I decided to play guitar. I have weekly lessons with my guitar Sansei, who’s a great teacher and very patient soul. In order to get better, I obviously have to practice at home. It’s real simple: the more I practice at home, the better I get at guitar, and the better my lessons go. My point: my work at home matters and helps my learning.

So as I aspire to improve at guitar by doing my homework and by rocking out with my bad self, I just might be able to recover my metaphoric rock under which I must return to survive the insanity of the homework debate redux.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen brother! And rock on with your views and the guitar.

PS A communication with the Rebel HQ is needed.