Will the Pandemic Transform Homework Forever?

During online learning, school work becomes homework. This compels teachers to re-examine what works and what doesn’t.

In the last academic year, the epidemic spread, and all school activities became homework. The discussion about the assignment’s advantage returned.

Beth Mendonca, a California middle-school teacher, says she didn’t want the students to be on their computers all day. If they didn’t finish an assignment, she didn’t persist on it. She adds that you never know what’s going on in their homes; they could be trying to work while watching their siblings.

What mattered more than the homework to her throughout that period was that learners attended classes and felt happy.

Last year, as the stress related to the pandemic soared and the lines between school and home became thin, many teachers opted out of assignments. Guardians became overwhelmed. Students needed a break from computers-if they had them.

Fairness became a concern. While some students had parents to help with homework, others did not. Some were able to access the internet; others could not.

As students and tutors countrywide return to in-person classes, some teachers are ready for homework too. However, many others hope the pandemic forced a reckoning- and assignment won’t be the same.

Is it busy work or homework?

An expert in student engagement and curriculum improvement, Denise Pope, who’s been studying homework for a long time, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, found out that reading does more harm than good. First, students rank it among the top three stressors. Second, excluding independent studying that learners choose to do – homework doesn’t correspond with student success.

Kim Lopes, an MIT third-grade teacher, says that the problem with homework is that teachers must assign a middle. It’s busywork for advanced students, while it’s too hard for others, and not everyone can access a teacher at home.

Her idea is that ‘exercise’ should occur in school, where professionals can support it. Her students have had two kinds of assignments for a long time: basic maths facts and online, individualized reading.

The epidemic fortified her thoughts about homework – it is futile, exerting, and inequitable.

Assignments with effect

Shoebox scenes and other elementary-age assignments were dwindling in popularity even before the pandemic. This hasn’t stopped Baker, who’s taught for 35 years, from issuing homework and different kinds of assignments. She says he believes homework is a mandatory part of the school. Its merit depends on how and what’s assigned and doesn’t have to be a paper-and-pencil activity.

Baker says that homework created organization and skills for time management. This instills a sense of responsibility and self-advancement.

Through the epidemic, her students kept up reading logs at home, which their parents signed. She could not issue her unique homework project. It has students teach their guardians a study unit from class, the water cycle, for instance. It involves reserving time with their parents. Then form a detailed lesson plan and divide a specific amount of time for teaching the key facts. They then check parents’ learning.

She says it’s a great way to engage parents and students in learning. Her wish is for people to know there are some other ways of presenting homework.

Whether we resort to homework or assignments, the facts have been laid and it’s all a matter of decisions and choices

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