As a teacher, what is better—in-class work or homework?
I will focus on K-12, as homework is essential at the college level.
Finland, which has one of the most successful education systems in the world, does not rely on homework. I too prefer in-class work because it levels the playing field. Some students simply can't devote the time to schoolwork that others can because of the need to work or the outside pressures of family life—or both. In other cases, especially those of greater privilege, it can be hard to tell if the student has done the work or the parents. The more that work can be done in the classwork, the more the student is being evaluated on the quality of the work per se and less on the basis of economic or social advantage.
That being said, I think homework can be an important supplement to what goes on in the classroom, especially for high school students who aspire to attend college. These students need to develop the habit of reading and thinking outside of the class so they can be successful as they move forward.