Pros and cons of homework: How much is too much?

By: Isaac Lund

Homework is a concept that has been utilized by teachers all around the world for decades. It seems to be a tried and true concept, but is it really the best for students?

Many teachers and parents argue that homework is necessary to keep the standards of education high. With the following pros I’m about to list off, you may well agree.

First off, homework helps students develop study skills that they can utilize throughout the rest of their life. It teaches responsibility and organization, as well as enforcing individual learning skills that will come into play more and more as students stop having teachers to look to for help later in life.

Another upside of homework is that it helps to further engrain classroom learning. According to Ed Cooke, a grand master of memory, using a word repetitively is the best way to remember it. This repetition concept carries over to homework as well.

Homework can also help students apply what they learned in different situations, many of which weren’t gone over in class. This helps to improve improvisation.

Homework also helps teachers recognize patterns in academic comprehension within students. This can help give students who are struggling more help, and change teaching approaches if entire classes fail to comprehend the material.

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Although the paragraphs above makes homework look like a fine and dandy tool, it ignores the grievous shortcomings homework has to offer as well.

Obviously, homework decreases leisure time. As I sit here at my desk writing this article, I am squandering time that could be spent building social skills or discovering a new hobby—both are things that will benefit me for much longer than my grade in newspaper class.

Homework also increases stress levels: when the workload becomes too much or too difficult, students lose sleep and motivation. Through this concept, homework is seen as a negative aspect of school by almost all students.

Finally, homework isn’t always effective. A study conducted at the University of Melbourne found that homework in primary school has an effect of around zero, with many students completing work unrelated to class material.

Homework can be greatly beneficial, but it can also be greatly detrimental. Although I do agree that homework should remain to some extent, it must be related to class material, and must create a low stress environment, while still reinforcing prior learning.