No to homework policy

August 29, 2019

Among the most burning issues these days is the ‘no homework policy’ being pushed by some lawmakers.

Students, teachers, parents and even politicians have joined the bandwagon and issued their take on the issue and yet, it seems that no one has taken the initiative to conduct a public hearing that will explore all angles, weigh the pros and cons and then formulate ways so that those for and against and all stakeholders may meet halfway.

Of all the pronouncements made, what caught the ire of many is the proposed House Bill filed by Quezon City Representative Alfred Vargas. His proposed HB 3883 limits the giving of homeworks to students to weekends, citing that ‘a few landmark studies have suggested that homework does impact upon family life, in some cases in a negative way… yet in general, it is positively associated with academic achievement.

This is fine, except that Vargas’ proposed bill went a bit far as it reportedly contains a provision where he wants teachers to be fined P50,000 or face imprisonment for one to two years if she or he will violate the no-homework policy.

In effect, he wants to ‘criminalize’ the giving of assignments on the part of teachers, which is totally outrageous.

Recently, I have watched lawmakers, students, faculty members and even psychiatrists being interviewed left and right regarding their stand on the controversial issue.

Having been a product of classic education myself, I strongly believe that homework or assignments must really be part and parcel of a student’s life.

During those days when I was a student, there were no cellphones or computers yet, so that we relied on books, physical research and frequented libraries. The ‘copy paste’ system now being enjoyed by students was unheard of.

The way technology has made things a trillion times easier for students these days makes it difficult to understand why and how they could afford to complain about homeworks, if they involve research only.

I guess the problem is education on the part of teachers who give ‘impossible’ assignments, or the kind that is beyond the capability of their students. They should be able to assess if the homework or projects they assign would not be possible without the help of parents.

The good education secretary, Leonor Briones, is correct in saying that most homeworks are done either by the parents or nannies. So, there must be an adjustment on the part of the teachers to give homework that can well be done by their students.

Homework hones a student’s ability to be creative, organizational, responsible and disciplined, as well as developing good study habits, independent problem-solving skills and attitude toward work and working on deadlines.

Some say students must be spared from homework so they can get into sports or get to have more bonding time with their families.

Bet your bottom dollar. Most, if not all these students will just find more time to stay glued to their gadgets and waste away precious time on social media. Time which would have been well spent on learning.

In other countries, homework is guided by what is called, ‘the ten-minute rule’ which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level’.   An online article said that ‘the most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school.’

In the same article, Cooper was quoted thus: ‘A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements. If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.’

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Jokjok (from Josephine Miranda of  Quezon City)— Sa isang classroom…Teacher: Class, what is ETHICS?/ Pedro: Mam, etiks are smaller than ducks. Hehehehhh…/Teacher: Okay, that duck will lay an egg in your card. Hehehehh din!

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