OPINION: The homework debate – it’s a choice

I CAN hear the shouts of glee from many students and parents and some teachers if the announcement is ever made - 'homework is banned'.

It has been a topic of debate since I began teaching in the early 90's. All those involved in the education of children seem to have an opinion based on fact, research, emotions or experience and yet there never seems to be a right or wrong answer to the question - is homework beneficial?

The solution is not to ban homework or make it compulsory but to remember it is a choice. Much like practising a musical instrument or sporting skills.

As a teacher I would give homework to my students not because it was the school's policy but it was a chance for them to follow up on what we had done in class. I never believed in punishing them for not completing the tasks set but reminded them it was there for them to improve their skill level if they wanted or needed to.

If it was an onerous chore for parents I understood - no pressure, drop it.

Homework like anything we do should be an enjoyable challenge. Something we choose to do to better ourselves. I've always believed if you don't practice you don't get better or achieve at a higher level. Your choice. If it helps you to reach a goal - do it!

As a parent I encourage my children to complete homework and assignments to the best of their ability but at the same time support them to be well rounded people who do more than just school work.

I liken homework to housework - it's always there but do the benefits of doing it outweigh the downside of not doing it? You choose.

- Robyn Courtney is APN/ARM's Newspapers in Education editor

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