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Base homework time on quality, not number of hours
Published on: Saturday, July 22, 2017

By Syazmir
THERE have been many complaints by parents that their children are too occupied with homework.

Students are tired of doing homework. Some of them sacrifice their rest time during the weekend.

This is not a positive outlook for a family where parents don’t get to spend much time with their children.

Some students even “forget” to turn in their homework because they never had the time to finish it, a sign of desperation that may lead to lies and ultimately, a bad habit.

We cannot deny the benefits of homework in a student’s academic development. Homework encourages independent learning. A student learns to study on his own besides guidance from teachers in school.

Homework also tests the student’s ability to understand what is taught in school.

And, homework inculcates the “ownership” attitude in students.

A student learns to complete the task in hand and this is useful for his self-development.

Homework also becomes a form of communication between school and parents.

Parents can have a better idea of their children’s progress in school through homework.

Yet, what is the correlation between the number of hours spent on homework and academic results?

A study by Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) among Malaysian students found that those who spent less than 45 minutes on Science homework a week scored higher than those who spent more than three hours a week.

Therefore, the number of hours spent on homework is not significant, rather, the quality.

The study concludes that the ideal amount of time spent on homework is 45 minutes a subject a week.

Apart from the number of quality hours spent, how effective is homework?

A teacher should not focus on the right or wrong of the task given. Instead, they should measure the level of difficulty of the task according to the student’s intellect.

The teacher should identify the difficult areas that students are weak in. Then, improvise the task by giving appropriate guidance.

Another way to ensure the effectiveness of homework is to give smaller tasks where a student can better understand the subject matter.

Based on TIMSS findings, it is pointless to give students too much homework, which does not yield any positive outcome. Homework is not necessarily the way to a student’s success.

Teachers believe that giving students homework will enable them to perform better. We do not want all teachers to give homework simultaneously, which is not completed by the students.

Schools should have a mechanism to control the amount of homework given to students.

Parent should play a part in their children’s growth and success.

Most parents send their children for tuition to ensure excellent academic results, but bear in mind that too many academic activities can lead to stress and that the child could fail. Do not rely on homework and academic performance alone, but explore the non-academic activities, which can improve a student’s imagination, creativity and leadership skills.

The younger generation are the leaders of tomorrow. No child should say, “Half of my energy was wasted on random knowledge”, which is the famous acronym for homework. Let’s use homework to build rather than break the future of youth.

Syazmir

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