Pros and Cons of Homework

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  • 0:01 The Debate About Homework
  • 0:44 Pros of Homework
  • 2:24 Cons of Homework
  • 4:36 Questions About Homework
  • 5:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Esther Bouchillon

Esther has taught middle school and has a master's degree in gifted education.

Homework is a hot topic in education. There are both pros and cons to assigning homework. This lesson outlines some of the major arguments both for and against homework. A short quiz follows the lesson.

The Debate About Homework

This girl is working on homework. Homework is how we refer to the school work that students are assigned to complete on their own time outside of school. Students tend to think that teachers enjoy assigning homework, ruining their afternoons and weekends with tedious assignments. Of course, this is not really the case. Many teachers dread grading homework as much as students hate doing it!

So, why assign homework? Is it beneficial or harmful? Homework has both benefits and drawbacks. When considering assigning homework, teachers should carefully reflect on the purpose of the assignment. The list of pros and cons below can help guide the teacher's reflection.

Pros of Homework

Some benefits of assigning homework include:

  • Time: There seems like there is never enough time to cover all the material in class and especially not enough time for special assignments. Independent work (like reading a book) or special projects (like completing a science fair project) do not always get accomplished in class. These assignments can be given as homework to allow for more time in class for other activities.
  • Extra independent practice: Everyone knows that in order to learn, students must practice. Homework allows students to practice the information they learned in class. Many classes require skill-based repetition, such as memorizing times tables in math or reading practice in English. Homework is a great way to emphasize such skills.
  • Individualized remediation: Homework can be individualized so that students get extra practice on the skills they struggle with. This allows teachers to provide remediation without using class time. Doing the assignment at home can also help the student avoid the stigma that can come with doing something different in class.
  • Pre-teach vocab: Learning new vocabulary is essential to many classes. Some studies say that students need to be exposed to a new word at least 17 times before they learn the word. Homework can be used to expose students to new vocabulary terms before they are used in class to help pre-teach the words. This could be done through a reading assignment or by a looking up definitions and writing them in their own words.
  • Life skills: Assigning homework and deadlines helps students learn to manage their time, keep a schedule, and stay organized. For some students, even taking something home and bringing it back the next day is a challenging, though essential, skill to learn.

Cons of Homework

There are just as many cons for assigning homework. I know you want an excuse not to have to grade homework, so let's look at some of the drawbacks:

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