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Homework or Home-Stress

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Homework can be viewed as ‘home-stress’ for parents, because of the support students often need. So what do educators have to say?

YES

Simon Jon Dodd, a science teacher at Aldar Academies Al Ain Academy, explains: “There are intrinsic benefits of regular homework tasks above and beyond the clear review of class material. For the parents, it is an opportunity to see what their child is learning at school. For subject teachers, it is one measure of how well class material has been understood or misunderstood, which feeds into the planning process.

Racha Mustapha, the assistant vice principal teaching and learning, ADNOC Schools Sas Al Nakhal Female Campus, also concurs: “I agree with the concept of homework. Students are given time in class for instruction and practice. This is usually done with the teacher’s support. Investing a little independent time at home allows students the opportunity to review the material and to reinforce the concepts taught.

Sarah Coetzee, the head of Year 1 at Aldar Academies Al Muna Academy agrees, but with one proviso: “Homework is good, as long as there is balance! It should be matched to the child’s needs and be engaging and challenging. In this way, children will be willing to connect with their own learning and will make progress.”

Phil Yates, an assistant head teacher at Al Rabeeh School – Abu Dhabi, says: “There is little academic research to suggest that homework directly improves attainment. Well thought out homework can, however, help to create positive learning behaviours, preparing students for the next phase of their education, where they take greater ownership of their learning.”

Bushra Mansoor, the head of middle school at Springdales School Dubai, says, “Children’s happiness must be the focal point of their education. We will never have to debate on the topic of homework if there is a paradigm shift in the mindset while assigning it. The day that teachers will drive learning through classroom and real life integration, and set such assignments where children just can’t wait to reach home and throw their bags to dive into finding the answers, we will stop discussing if we do need to assign homework at all in the first place.”

NO

Lisa Ripperger, the principal at Clarion School disagrees with the concept of homework, saying: “Recent research on the value of homework consistently shows that young children do not benefit from homework, and in some cases creates frustration. The best thing parents can do, and the only thing that is proven to have a positive impact on learning in the long term, is a regular reading routine.”

Janecke Aarnaes, the head of school, Dwight School Dubai, comments: “Our school implements a nohomework policy. We believe in providing individual time for students to complete their academic work during a slightly extended school day to allow more down-time at home. We reinforce their learning in a setting where they have access to their teachers. This way, students have more personal time to focus on their hobbies, extracurrilcular activies, and family life. As a school which is not driven by homework, we’re proud to develop responsible, self-directed learners.”

IN THE MIDDLE

Phil Yates, an assistant head teacher at Al Rabeeh School – Abu Dhabi, says: “There is little academic research to suggest that homework directly improves attainment. Well thought out homework can, however, help to create positive learning behaviours, preparing students for the next phase of their education, where they take greater ownership of their learning.”

Bushra Mansoor, Head of Middle School at Springdales School Dubai, says, “Children’s happiness must be the focal point of their education. We will never have to debate on the topic of homework if there is a paradigm shift in the mindset while assigning it. The day that teachers will drive learning through classroom and real life integration, and set such assignments where children just can’t wait to reach home and throw their bags to dive into finding the answers, we will stop discussing if we do need to assign homework at all in the first place.”