Homework … the Great Dilemma!
Many moons ago, when I sat my original interview with the Board of Education in order to graduate from university as a teacher, I remember only one question I was asked that day – “What is your opinion about homework?
The reason I remember only that question is because I was totally unprepared for it and I waffled on for a few minutes, completely contradicting myself and walked out thinking “They’re never going to approve me to teach after that!”
Last week during one of the many phone calls I made to parents one of them asked me when the homework would be starting? She had told her child that it was time to “step up” and “knuckle down” now that they were in year 8, but she hadn’t noticed any homework being brought home. I assured her we would be sending regular homework out soon.
Indeed the year 8 team has discussed this and we had also agreed that we would each write questions about the topics we are doing in humanities. However, I find myself questioning the value of this! While I do see the value of homework that reinforces or practices a skill or technique started in the classroom, I struggle with the idea of setting questions just for the sake of homework. After all, how much knowledge do we really retain from our school days? Children can google as fast as I can if knowledge is really important! Surely skills are more important than knowledge in school and in life beyond school?
Tonight I have been revisiting some past thoughts about homework and its value/purpose. I found myself googling Ian Lillico as I vaguely remember a homework grid that encouraged a wide variety of activities. In year 8 over the past two weeks we have been looking at our learning styles and strengths / weaknesses. I’m thinking tonight that instead of writing those humanities questions I’d rather create a Lillico style grid that encourages family interaction, communication, problem solving and thinking skills.
Our school has a strong focus on restorative practice … something I think good teachers do intuitively but I am learning alot from the formal training and observation of practice. I think Lillico’s concept of homework fits nicely in an environment of relationship building.