Getting homework right

If you want to sort a roomful of teachers into figurative piles, ask about Homework. Last month, a member of the TLN Forum did so in our virtual chatroom, closing her query to her colleagues with “Where do you stand on students working on assignments outside of school?” A day or so later, we had a pretty good dialog piece for our Teacher Leaders Network page at Teacher Magazine. You can tell it touched a nerve by the 16 comments left by teachers (who had 16 different points of view!).

Just this week, Jon Hanbury, a TLNF’er from Virginia, spotted this post at the ASCD Inservice blog (worthy of aggregation, BTW). It offers a smart summary by middle grades English teacher Dina Strasser of Robert Marzano’s research-based take on homework. It’s chapter three in his book The Art and Science of Teaching. Strasser’s Cliff Notes are a great read and also drew some good comments, including a reference to a new study by the Canadian Council on Learning that found little homework benefit for students below about 8th grade – and only then if “new rules” were followed. (Same as the old rules: purposeful and relevant to classwork.)

[If you’re curious about the t-shirt, it was spotted by a blogger on the torso of a junior high school student, during a swim meet. The first reason: “I didn’t do my history homework because I don’t believe in dwelling on the past.” Last time we looked they were selling them on eBay.]

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