Sunday, November 18, 2012

Call me old school, but I believe that homework is an essential part of the learning process. Homework is a tool to help students understand the concepts being taught. I teach two major works classes at the high school level, and my job in these classes is to assist students in developing the necessary tools to help them succeed at the next level. They need to understand the concepts of the coursework and how to develop proper study habits so they are able to succeed.

I had the discussion with my students about homework in my classroom. I stated to them that I do not give a lot of assigned homework. I talked to them about reviewing the material taught in class each day for 30 minutes at home each evening. By doing this, they can refresh themselves on the concepts and if they have questions they can ask me the next day in class. When I do hand out homework in class, I make sure that it has relevance to the topics we are covering.

After reading the first two chapters, I do have a better understanding of how economic status plays a big role in the classroom. What I don't understand is how our students can come home to a difficult situation and want that lifestyle for themselves. I would hope that these students can understand that with some hard work they can succeed in the classroom and go on to become successful individuals. They do not have to live a lifestyle in which they grew up in.

During our class session, we talked about the five beliefs from chapter one and had some great conversations. The most talked about topic was the balance between social life/emotional development and homework. Everyone agreed that there needs to be a balance between the both of them, and I also agree. I do have to learn somewhat towards the homework side of things because it is my belief that school should be their main priority. If they want to be successful members of a community, they need to be educated so they make decisions that will benefit them.

Another great topic we discussed was how homework teaches responsibility. There were mixed emotions about this topic. Many people agreed that homework does teach responsibility in the fact that students need to complete it, but it's not just homework that teaches our youth responsibility. I believe that our youth will learn responsibility at a deeper level by doing chores, working at a job, and getting involved in their community then by doing homework.


  1. I asked two students (both active in a farm at home) that were sitting in my classroom if they felt that homework taught them responsibility. They both replied that they didn’t feel it did. Most of the time homework gets in the way of their work on the farm or their job. I then replied with "what about the students who don’t have jobs, where do they learn responsibility?"....they had no comment. Homework is an arguement/issue/debate that will continue on for a long time. Great blog Mitch

  2. "What I don't understand is how our students can come home to a difficult situation and want that lifestyle for themselves."

    It is very difficult for them to see that they can have a better life. It is generational poverty, it is something where low expectations are ingrained in them. Very few children break the cycle, because it is all they know. Education is not at the center of their life. Most of their parents had bad experiences in school, by either dropping out or barely making it through. We learn from our environment. If dad is at home not working, then typically that is perceived as okay with the next generation.

    If your interested in a good book on understanding poverty check out Ruby Payne's work:

  3. I love that you brought this topic up in your classroom. I also had a discussion about it with my 13 year old brother. He, of course, thought it would be a great idea to no longer have homework! I'm guessing your older students had a bit more insight as to the benefits than he did.

    I agree with Mr. McNeff on the poverty issue. I once heard a student say that he didn't need to do well in school to get a good job because he was just going to live with Mom anyways. That's what she did and that's probably what Grandma did. He doesn't know any differently. It's a tough idea for us to grasp.

  4. I have to agree somewhat with your “Old school philosophy”, Mitch. When you teach major works classes I believe you have to assume that your students are on the road to higher education. Can we get them prepared and be successful without giving homework? We all know that colleges give major homework, so we need to prepare them for that. College schedules do allow more time to get homework completed.
    I also feel that there are certain skills that need to be practiced outside the class room for the student to obtain and sustain a skill. It is hard to have a practice fit all of the different situations in our class rooms. One mold does not all of our classes. Again I believe the key is the balance and awareness of student’s situations in life.