School homework: yes or no?

Spain has a problem with homework. The voice of alarm was launched by the OECD, according to which, Spain is among the countries where children spend more hours a week doing homework, exactly, an average of 6 hours more. The WHO has also indicated that these long hours not only increase children’s stress but also inequality among students, depending on the help they receive at home. For this reason, lately many voices have been raised against school homework, although there are many who are in favor of it. Who is right?

The truth is that ever since formal education , homework has been applied from elementary school to university. Their main objective is to develop study habits, stimulate problem-solving strategies, reinforce learning that occurred in the classroom or go deeper into topics that were dealt with superficially. Obviously, the type of homework and the amount varies according to subjects, teachers, grades and schools.

In favor of homework

  • They stimulate the acquisition of study habits, allowing children to acquire routines that will be very useful in later grades.
  • They help develop responsibility and discipline, in addition to highlighting the importance of effort staff to achieve goals.
  • Children learn to allocate their time better, in order to move forward in the study.
  • By having to organize the study, Taking into account the level of complexity of homework and factors such as their attention, children also develop metacognitive strategies that allow them to better understand how their mind works and get the most out of it.
  • Not only do they contribute reinforce the content learned in the classroom but also stimulate the acquisition of new knowledge and skills, by encouraging children to delve into different topics.

Arguments for and against homework

Against homework

  • They take away free time from children, that they can use in the game, which is also a way of learning, enjoying their parents or sharing with their peers in the park, contexts and activities that also allow them to acquire other skills, such as social skills and conflict resolution.
  • They generate and increase the social inequalities, especially because many children do not receive the necessary help at home from their parents since they do not have the time or knowledge to explain their homework to them.
  • They create a negative precedent since by being evaluated or even punished when not done, homework can cause the child to develop a negative attitude towards school, even encouraging them to drop out of school in higher grades.
  • They cause frustration, overwhelmed, stressed and often even headaches as children spend too much time completing homework, seeing their leisure time grow shorter and shorter.
  • They are often worthless educational already that these are repetitive tasks in which logical thinking, creativity and the need to solve problems are not stimulated.

What is the solution?

A A study carried out at the University of Oviedo revealed that homework is positive for child development and improves academic performance, but only when it meets these requirements:

  • It is assigned at the beginning of class, so that the students have time to start them and the teacher checks that they have understood what they have to do. In fact, it is essential to explain how to do homework, providing specific strategies and examples.
  • The amount of homework assigned is limited, adjusting it to the age of the children, so that a 7-year-old doesn’t have to spend two hours doing homework. In this sense, a good strategy is for teachers to coordinate so as not to overload children with homework during the same days.
  • Instead of evaluating, offer positive feedback , with corrections and comments.
  • Homework is indicated that really reinforces and promotes learning, the development of creativity, comprehension and logical thinking.
  • It is homework with a certain degree of personalization, taking into account the level that each student has reached and their motivation for the subject.