Arguments for and against the statement "Homework is a waste of time"

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Homework takes a lot of time.  If you want to argue that it's a waste of time, you could say that kids could be spending their time doing other things, especially physical activity, because they spend enough time on learning in school.  On the other hand, American kids don't go...

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Homework takes a lot of time.  If you want to argue that it's a waste of time, you could say that kids could be spending their time doing other things, especially physical activity, because they spend enough time on learning in school.  On the other hand, American kids don't go to school very long, so they need to make up the difference somewhere.

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The arguments against homework are few but powerful.  Parents don't want homework because they must supervise or the student has activities.  Family time is another argument against if the assignments are very long and take up the entire evening.  The third argument against homework is that too much is busy work.  As a teacher, busy work was my pet peeve.  Homework should be meaningful and truly allow the student to practice the current skill.  The argument for homework is that students NEED the practice of a current skill.  If I am teaching complex sentences, I need to see if the students can do them on their own; however, I don't need 30 sentences to show me as 5 would be sufficient.  They need to do the practice on their own just as they would with learning to shoot a jump shot in basketball.  Then the teacher knows if more teaching is needed or more practice.

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To me, the major argument against homework is that it is (sometimes) simply "busywork" assigned by teachers to make it look as if they are asking a great deal of the students.  They will, for example, assign worksheets that come with the book (like in history or geography) that require the student to do nothing more than look up and copy answers.  These sorts of homework are of little value and many students simply copy from their friends.  This sort of homework, at least, does not live up to the ideal vision of homework presented in post #2.

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In the current education system, two modes of learning take place: group learning (lecture, discussion, presentations, etc.) in which one instructor guides the educational elements to a group (the class), and individual instruction, in which each student examines the material on his own. So-called “homework” is nothing more than the second kind of learning; it would be extremely inefficient of the class time to write an essay, for example, or work a set of math problems to imbed the principles of equations. These individual activites are best performed at the individual student’s pace and venue—homework. If we think of the school day as being divided into two parts—classroom instruction and private application of the material—we can see that “homework” is not a punishment, or laziness on the part of the teacher, or a budget concern, etc. It is the private, singular part of the learning. A parallel can be drawn with physical conditioning: some can be done at the gym with others, but some must be done alone in your exercise space. There are no valid arguments for doing away with homework.
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