Homework vs No Homework: A pedagogical argument

Homework has always been a debatable issue in the academe.  Of course, traditionalists would always go for it. On the other hand, contemporary educationists would rather scrap the idea of it.

Henceforth, this article will weigh the pros and cons of giving assigned tasks based on the article by Ramdass & Zimmerman (2011).

Homework and self-regulation

This collective study by Ramdass & Zimmerman (2011) looks at the correlation between homework and self-regulation.

Perhaps, there is no need to further define ‘homework’ as an extra task given to learners.  At this level, we may refer to this as a pedagogical tool assigned by teachers to students after school time. Simply, it’s like an extra school work to be done at home.

Next, self-regulation pertains to an individual’s predetermined process of organizing and utilizing knowledge and skills.  For example, self-regulatory acts may include goal setting, self-monitoring, and time management just to name a few.

Logically, these two have overlapping attributes.   In completing a task, students need to employ self-management skills.  But then, how can we justify this?

Empirical evidence on homework and self-regulation

An experiment by Stoeger and Ziegler (2008) looked into the ways elementary students performed in working on a homework.

In this scenario, 219 students participated and 17 teachers monitored them. In effect, the quality and quantity of the homework given to the students led to improvement in self-regulation.

With respect to middle and high school students, Zimmerman and Kitsantas (2005) reported several factors affecting self-regulation through homework.  Accordingly, middle school students could manage their distractions well.  Gender is also a factor as middle school girls show efficiency in completing their tasks.  Geographically, urban students show more motivation than those from the rural areas.

In college level, Kitsantas and Zimmerman (2009) revealed that longer periods of studying or doing such tasks have a significant effect on examinations in math.

To give or not to give a homework

When it comes to developing skills in self-regulation, teachers MUST be conscious enough to give relevant assigned tasks.  Definitely, the aforementioned studies establish the need for this. However, educators must be aware of the quality of tasks given to students.

In doing so, teachers should design an assigned task that:

  1. is appropriate for the student’s age and level;
  2. has clear goals and expectations communicated to students & parents; and,
  3. enhances not just skills but also positive attitudes towards learning.

Definitely, assigning tasks still depend on the nature of the student.  In the ideal setting, if a homework is designed to fit the needs and wants of the students, this could maximize learning opportunities.

Reference

Ramdass, D., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2011). Developing self-regulation skills: The important role of homework. Journal of advanced academics, 22(2), 194-218.

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