February 5, 2012

Anti-homework movement is growing

In a recent post to his brilliant blog, Education Rethink, John Spencer grabs the reader with this opening line: "I hate my son's homework." One sentence in, and I knew I would love Spencer's post.

Unlike some of my own posts, which may come off as venting against the practice of assigning homework, Spencer's blog offers some useful advice for teachers who are interested in changing their approach. For example, he says:
"Write out a rationale regarding why you don't assign homework. One of the biggest selling points for me was the explanation that I would not waste any class time. I had seen the way teachers would waste time and say, "I'll just assign that as homework."  The other big selling point was the notion of instant feedback and the potential lack of feedback at home."
A few hours after Spencer's post went live, comments poured in from supporters. One commenter links bad homework to bad teaching:
"I think teachers who want to do away with homework must also be prepared to fully engage kids in learning and guided practice for the entire class period. Sloppy homework follows sloppy teaching."
Another reader, seemingly joining the anti-homework movement, suggests some basic in-class writing, in place of something else assigned as an out-of-class activity:
"In many cases, informal writing during class is a better way of providing opportunities to engage with material than homework. Informal writing looks easy, but writing good prompts that produce learning and/or produce valid formative assessments is not easy."
It's exciting to see other educators writing about the negative impact homework has on teaching and learning.

So, are you ready to join the anti-homework movement?