Just the other day a colleague sent me a note saying “please post about homework!” I can’t say I’m surprised, the homework question is one of the perennial questions in education; I even wrote about it last year. And like a stubborn weed, it spawns and shoots many other questions:
How much homework should students have?
Is homework for practice or learning?
Is it fair to assign homework that relies on internet access?
What is the purpose of homework?
How does homework count, if at all?
Does everyone have to do the same homework?
The truth is that despite all of the research compiling on the effectiveness of homework, the answer is a big thorny “depends.” Under the right conditions, homework can be a fantastic support for learners moving ahead and growing with their skills and knowledge. Under the wrong conditions, homework can actually be detrimental to learning. In a learner-centered proficiency-based culture, the homework weed can be even more noxious and thorny. We need to be considering the right conditions for every learner, every day.
If we step back and think about homework through the lens of personalized learning we can come to some clarity around homework in our schools. Here are some questions to ask yourself about homework, and some resources to help you tame this weed.
Questions related to learner autonomy and access:
Questions related to homework purpose:
These reads from Edutopia and EdWeek will help you come to conclusions about how homework fits in a learner-centered proficiency-based environment at any grade level.
Boom Bang Homework Assignments
Kitchen Table Conversations
The Truth About Homework
Why Homework Should Be Balanced
Homework vs No Homework Is The Wrong Question
Do You Want To Hack Homework This Year?
Courtney is the Instructional Coach for KIDS RSU #2 in Maine. She also hosts a podcast about personalized learning, and is available for independent consulting work.
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