From the Mouths of Babes – My Students Discuss Homework

Note: Some of my older posts did not survive the transfer from Blogger to WordPress, thus these are older posts that still bring up valid points.

Thanks to a wonderful Time For Kids article this week, my students engaged in a 30 minute discussion on whether or not teachers should assign homework (we ran out of time or it could have gone longer).  I started out taping the discussion, hoping to share it, but the camera stifled them, so I turned it off and instead just listened and asked a couple of questions.  And the result?  Well, it was mixed.

Many students believed that homework was a necessary evil at first, and by that I mean, they think they should be assigned it so they can learn responsibility.  However, when I asked them whether they could be taught responsibility in a different manner they all agreed they already were responsible in school.  After that they started changing their mind.  Some highlights for me were:

  • We already work our hardest at school and deserve to be done with school when the bell rings.
  • We are tired when we get home so homework does not represent our best work.
  • Some times our parents cannot help us and we end up more confused.
  • Teachers do not own our time outside of school, but why do they think they do?  They can’t for example order us to go to Target.
  • I want to have a life outside of school and pursue my activities.
  • It is ok to have homework during the week but never during the weekend or during holidays.
  • If a student works hard during the day and is responsible, they should be able to not have homework after school.
  • It is ok to assign reading and special projects but they have to be super fun and have student choice.
  • Homework does not teach us responsibility but instead teaches us to get it done fast.
  • Homework should not be graded since it is just practice.
  • Homework should be assigned because school has to come first and that is our job.

I love the level of thinking I am seeing in these students as they develop their discussion habits. They are figuring out when to speak and reacting to each other’s comments.  I also love how they are evaluating the world and learning to speak their minds.  I believe the camera stifled them because some were nervous in stating their opinion, after all, they are only 5th graders, what do they know?

6 thoughts on “From the Mouths of Babes – My Students Discuss Homework”

  1. I love having discussions with children. This is a wonderful topic and I remember as a kid I hated to get homework as I just wanted to sit down and relax not think about the day at school as we get older what does homework really teach us? Nothing really. I agree with what your one child said to get your work done faster. That’s what it teaches you. If you complete it at school then you won’t have to do it after school. Great topic and interesting perspective in it.

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