When asking students about the worst thing they find in their studies, they are likely to mention homework. Of course, if students had the right to change the system of education, they would definitely ban homework. Some may say that children and adolescents do not understand what is best for them and, hence, their arguments concerning homework should not be taken into account. However, students are often overloaded by tasks and this negatively affects their learning outcomes, researchers state (Parker, 2014). The extensive bulk of research shows that homework has its benefits but they are outweighed by its downsides. This paper dwells upon pitfalls of homework.
First of all, excessive amount of homework is associated with stress and a number of psychological issues. Thus, Parker (2014) reports that 56% of students see homework as the major source of their stress. Only 1% of students admitted that homework was not the cause of their stress. Katz, Kaplan and Gueta (2010) note that students are overloaded by tasks and they often feel depressed. Many students report that they feel depressed as they feel they cannot do their homework properly or they do not understand what is expected from them.
Importantly, homework can often have a negative impact on students’ health. One of primary outcomes of homework is the lack of sleep (Katz et al., 2010). Students often spend major part of the nighttime studying. This negatively affects their health and their psychological state. Of course, working on homework often means sitting in a room instead of enjoying exercise and fresh air. Clearly, children and adolescents need a lot of exercise for proper development.
Many researchers and educators stress that homework negatively affects the way students experience their creativity. Students have less time for extracurricular activities or hobbies (“Is it time we banished homework?” 2013). Many researchers note that this reduces learning outcomes of students and contradicts the major goal of education, which is to help students integrate effectively into the society through acquiring certain skills and choosing their profession.
Furthermore, some researchers claim that homework contributes to inequality in education. Thus, in low-income families, parents cannot invest enough time to help their children with homework (Katz et al., 2010). At the same time, in more well-off families, parents often assist their children significantly and sometimes it is difficult to say who completed homework, parents or the student. Of course, this is also counterproductive.
Apart from this, the correlation between the amount of homework and academic performance has not been proved yet. There is a significant bulk of research on the matter but findings are rather inconsistent (Parker, 2014). More so, it has been found that high-school students may slightly benefit from homework, but there has been no correlation between the amount of homework completed and academic performance in the middle and elementary school (Katz et al., 2010). Of course, the effectiveness of homework should be questioned.
On top of that, working on homework often means less time for social life as students are confined to their rooms and computers. This negatively affects students’ ability to develop social and communicative skills, which will be essential in their adulthood. Again, the primary goal of education is not achieved due to excessive homework.
Finally, researchers also note that many tasks given have little academic value. They argue that educators often fail to develop proper tasks for homework and, hence, it becomes quite meaningless or even harmful (Parker, 2014). As has been mentioned above, students often have insufficient or inadequate instructions that add anxiety and stress. Moreover, many students see homework as a way to get grades. They try to cheat or make insufficient effort to complete tasks. They do not learn but they simply earn grades.
It is noteworthy that opponents of homework do not insist on a complete ban of homework. However, they emphasize the need to considerably reduce the amount of homework given to students. Katz et al. (2010) note that educators should carefully choose tasks and make sure that instructions are clear and comprehensive. More so, it has been found that students may need their teachers’ support when it comes to homework. This support can be given during brief discussions and consultations. This will motivate students to complete the task properly.
To sum up, it is necessary to note that homework is rather an outdated tool whose benefits are outweighed by its shortcomings. Homework is associated with certain psychological overload, health issues, little academic value and unequal opportunity. It also negatively affects development of students’ creativity as well as their social skills. Of course, complete elimination of homework is not appropriate but it can be beneficial to reduce amount of homework students have to complete. Educators should also improve the quality of tasks given and make sure that they are consistent with the learning goals. Students should not spend most of the day (and night) studying as they should also have time for social occasions, exploring their creativity and interests, having fun with their friends.
Is it time we banished homework? (2015). The Independent.
Katz, I., Kaplan, A., & Gueta, G. (2010). Students’ needs, teachers’ support, and motivation for doing homework: A cross-Sectional Study. The Journal of Experimental Education, 78(2), 246-267.
Parker, C.B. (2014). Stanford research shows pitfalls of homework. Stanford News.