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His writings were instrumental in the growth of the anti-homework movement of the early 1900s, a harbinger of the important role media would play in future homework debates.By 1930, the anti-homework sentiment had grown so strong that a Society for the Abolition of Homework was formed.

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Early in the 20th century, an anti-homework movement became the centerpiece of a nationwide trend toward progressive education.

Progressive educators questioned many aspects of schooling: "Once the value of drill, memorization, and recitation was opened to debate, the attendant need for homework came under harsh scrutiny as well" (Kralovec & Buell, 2000, p. As the field of pediatrics grew, more doctors began to speak out about the effect of homework on the health and well-being of children.

Homework is a long-standing education tradition that, until recently, has seldom been questioned.

The concept of homework has become so ingrained in U. culture that the word homework is part of the common vernacular, as exemplified by statements such as "Do your homework before taking a trip," "It's obvious they didn't do their homework before they presented their proposal," and "The marriage counselor gave us homework to do." Homework began generations ago, when schooling consisted primarily of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and rote learning dominated.

Yet the historical arguments on both sides are familiar.

They bear a striking similarity to the arguments waged in today's debate over homework.In 1900, the editor of the Ladies' Home Journal, Edward Bok, began a series of anti-homework articles.He recommended the elimination of homework for all students under the age of 15 and a limit of one hour nightly for older students.At the end of the 19th century, attendance in grades 1 through 4 was irregular for many students, and most classrooms were multi-age.Teachers rarely gave homework to primary students (Gill & Schlossman, 2004).Teachers, overwhelmed by an already glutted curriculum and pressures related to standardized tests, assign homework in an attempt to develop students' skills and extend learning time.At the same time, they are left frustrated when the students who most need more time to learn seem the least likely to complete homework.By the 5th grade, many students left school for work; fewer continued to high school (Kralovec & Buell, 2000).In the lower grades, school focused on reading, writing, and arithmetic; in grammar school (grades 5 through 8) and high school, students studied geography, history, literature, and math.The benefits of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise for children were widely accepted, and homework had the potential to interfere.One hundred years ago, rather than diagnosing children with attention deficit disorder, pediatricians simply prescribed more outdoor exercise.


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