[Maths-Education] Homework

Lin Taylor l.taylor@unl.ac.uk
Mon, 12 Feb 2001 13:58:46 +0000 (GMT)

Hallam and Cowan have written a thorough and useful review of the research
 concerning homework. (Hallam,S. and Cowan, R.. What do we know about homework?
 Viewpoint No. 9. London: Institute of Education) There has been a great deal
 of research concerning homework and attainment but this is often contradictory,
 partly because there are so many variables. It also depends on what you mean by
 homework and what you mean by achievement, which is not as self evident as it
 might seem.

Our experience of interviewing secondary mathematics teachers about homework was
 that they never questioned it. It was part of the job and homework was a 
continuation of the lesson. It had never been the subject of any real debate -
why to set it or what was the point of homework.

We consider it is an area that desperately needs to be considered but not with
 the limited vision of boosting results. Homework can be very negative for teachers,
 children and parents. However its very name indicates its possibilities. There is
 the potential to view learning not as a narrowly based activity that happens in the
 classroom - that children do because their teacher tells them to do it. Much learning
 does happen outside the classroom. This needs to be valued and built upon by teachers.

Lin Taylor
On Thu, 08 Feb 2001 17:12:40 +0000 Peter Gill 
<peter.gill@kcl.ac.uk> wrote:

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> I have long been convinced that the disadvantages of homework outweigh the
> dubious advantages for all bar a few pupils. Indeed when I was a head of
> department I told my staff that the only reason for setting and marking it
> was to keep the parents happy and show that we were doing a good job. Thus
> they should use the biggest red pen possible.
> On the other hand it seems that in some contexts, some sort of "prep" may
> be of use, even if only to provide an Ausubelian advance organiser.
> Peter Gill                    School of Education
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Lin Taylor