This is the season for many schools around the world in which the school year officially begins. As parents and their kids excitedly gather their back-to-school gear and prep for their next academic endeavors, teachers prep for sea of new faces and new experiences. For one teacher from Godley, Texas (USA), however, this new school year has been far from the ideal start for which she was hoping.
Second grade Texas teacher Brandy Young has made headlines as of late due to the following note that she sent home with her students at the start of the school year:
“After much research this summer, I am trying something new. Homework will only consist of work that your student did not finish during the school day. There will be no formally assigned homework this year. Research has been unable to prove that homework improves student performance. Rather, I ask you to spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success. Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.”
Young’s policy, which has no need for formal homework, has been welcomed by some parents of her second grade class. Mom Samantha Gallagher is one example of a supportive parent. “My initial reaction was positive,” Gallagher told CNN in an interview. “She handed out the letter at a meet-the-teacher night and discussed her reasoning with us. My husband and I were both taken aback, in a good way. [Our daughter] Brooke has had homework since preschool. So the idea of not having any made her extremely happy!”
Sure, it sounds a bit…unorthodox, to say the least. However, science seems to apply method to Brandy Young’s alleged madness. A recent study found that primary school students are sometimes getting around 3 times more homework than what’s recommended. As a result, many of these students have suffered a number of consequences like increased family stress, lowered self-esteem, and a negative impact on social skills.
Homework–something that many have always claimed as “busy work”–offers little in regards to building life skills. Many believe that homework doesn’t provide any more important lessons than things like team sports and time with family. Of course, spending an hour or so each night studying won’t do anyone any harm. Especially for kids in higher grade levels.
However, for younger children in preschool, kindergarten, and lower grades of primary school, homework seems rather fruitless.
When it comes down to it, as mentioned, homework for older students can prove valuable. It provides a great resource for developing students to hone in on particular lessons and skills that require effort and dedication. For younger students, though, does homework really offer much? One could argue that between heaps of homework, extracurricular spots and activities, baths, mealtimes, and bedtime…when are younger students supposed to enjoy being kids?
It may seem like a controversial method today, but who knows? Maybe Brandy Young’s method could be part of a wave of revolution that leads to more productive (and far less stressed) younger students!
Young wasn’t the first teacher to test this method! Learn about other teachers’ zero-homework policies by clicking next!
Just last year, a New York City elementary school took a firm and controversial stance: they banned homework for its entire student population. They noted negative effects on students including “children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities and family time and, sadly for many, loss of interest in learning.”
As an alternative to excessive homework, the school encouraged families to spend time–that would otherwise be spent on homework–together instead. As one could imagine, the initial feedback and reception from the policy was abrasive at best. In fact, some parents were up in arms!
“I think they should have homework — some of it is about discipline,” one father vehemently spoke on the issue. “I want [my daughter] to have fun, but I also want her to be working towards a goal.”
There’s still much to learn about whether or not implementing a zero-homework policy can have any beneficial longterm effects. However, we’ll never know without experimenting.
Though it’s certainly not a popular policy, you have to give credit to teachers like Brandy Young for having the audacity and brazenness to experiment with such a policy!
This story was initially covered by BabyCenter
READ: Is playtime more beneficial to kids’ education than we thought?
Be sure to check out theAsianparent Community for more insightful stories, questions, and answers from parents and experts alike. If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the topic, please share them in our Comment box below. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Google+ to stay up-to-date on the latest from theAsianparent.com Philippines!