Hello Katy Christian Magazine Readers! My name is Jennifer Counter and I am excited to introduce my new column Counter’s Corner. I am hoping this will be a place for us to have informative and engaging conversations about education. I am certified through the State of Texas to teach all subjects in Early Childhood-8th grade, English As A Second Language and Gifted and Talented for students in PreK-12th grade. I was a classroom teacher for 10 years in both Elementary and Middle Schools; in public and private schools throughout Houston, before starting my tutoring company, Counter’s Tutoring Connection. In addition to teaching, I am a Mom of a wonderful teenage daughter Lauren Aleena, a graduate of Houston Baptist University, a mentor for local adults and youth, and a committee member of various Katy ISD educational organizations. Helping children and fostering a love for learning are my passions. I look forward to connecting with you all as we explore Education.
The Great Homework Debate
What is your take on Homework? Is Homework beneficial? How much is too much? What are the pros and cons to homework? How much homework should be assigned to students?
These are all valid questions and ones that I have been asked many times as a teacher. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons to student’s being assigned mandatory homework from the old adage “Practice makes perfect.”
Proponents of daily or weekly homework argue that the repetition and consistency associated with homework improves a student’s success rate in school and mastery of learning concepts. Some studies have shown that homework improves test results and transitions into higher performance based grades. Those in favor of homework also believe that homework allows the parents to be active participants in the learning process, by allowing the parents time to monitor their student’s abilities and progress in a particular subject.
Opponents of homework argue that too much emphasis is placed on time consuming activities and repetition of frequent homework assignments; and that the stress from the demand of homework encourages cheating, deprives students of needed rest and leisure time and space to practice creativity and non-academic interest like art, music, and sports; and also increases anxiety and health related conditions like headaches, loss of appetite, and stomach illnesses.
While I can agree with both arguments, my stance on homework is a blended one. I do see the need to follow through on some learning concepts at home. For example, reading and practicing math facts at home. I do think that study skills associate with homework practice and time management, foster independence and consistency in children- both of which are needed as they mature in their studies. What I am not in favor of is: homework replacing a quality daily education and well thought out classroom lessons; in exchange for large amounts of repetition work disguised as mandatory homework. Homework when assigned in proper context, can and should reinforce learning. However, I am not a fan of a student, of any age, sitting at a desk or kitchen table for hours to complete lengthy assignments and then multiplying that same practice by multiple subjects. I believe this heavy homework cloud diminishes a student’s love for learning and often creates more harmful effects vs healthy results. The burden of homework today is not seen by many students, teachers, and parents, as an extension to learning, but rather as a second shift of work after an already long school day. Furthermore, some of the highest levels of thinking found in learning taxonomies (Bloom’s taxonomy) are creating, evaluating, and analyzing; while memorizing, defining, and listing rank lowest on the scale. Yet, if you were to categorize most homework assignments, that is exactly where the activities fall. Therefore, my answer to the great homework debate is what I like to call the 3M’s:
• Make it as meaningful as possible
• Minimize the repetition and increase the creativity
• Monitor student’s progress in comparison to the work load
I would love to hear what your thoughts on this subject or education are. Please send any comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer Counter, is a long time resident of Katy, Texas. She is also the owner of Counter’s Tutoring Connection. Her tutoring center is located at 24662 Kingsland Blvd, Katy, Texas 77494. For information regarding tutoring please visit www.couterstutoring.com or inquire via email at email@example.com or via phone at 832-341-6621.