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Home : 2003 : Oct : 16

    By Tricia

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    I teach middle school and have found that the students are pretty clever about homework! For instance, if they figure the teacher won't do more than glance at the homework then they put gibberish or answers that are incorrect because they know the teacher glances for completeness. I asked how they figured that out and they have all pretty much told me they knew this since they were little. So, what I am trying to say is that if a teacher gives the homework then the teacher should go over it all in class the next day with the students because homework that is done just to be done is meaningless and reinforces nothing. Giving homework just to give homework really has no value. Also, I went with my brother to get a CT scan recently and was just amazed at a family that was waiting for a relative getting tests as well. At first the children, around 5th and 6th grade, were working on homework (except for the boy). The girls kept telling him to get to work and he just kept goofing off. After 30 minutes the mom came back out to the waiting room and told the boy to give him the social studies. So, being a curious person I watched as this woman proceeded to do the boy's homework. I noticed her answers were long and so told her she shouldn't put such long, detailed answers down because that is a dead give-a-way that a boy his age didn't do his own homework! She looked me in the eye and told me not to worry and that she was a pro at doing his homework and the teachers in all these years hadn't figured it out and feels they won't now. The boy spoke up and said the teachers never grade the stuff anyhow and that all they do is walk the rows to see that they had something. Once she finished the social studies she grabbed the algebra and did that as well while the boy copied the social studies in his own handwriting. How meaningful is homework folks? The next day I polled my 120 students about homework practice and found that a good majority of my students had others in their families "help" them do their homework. Since then I have incorporated reinforcement into each class period and have found that to work much better. Families, these days, are not like the ones we grew up in and so that should also be considered. When children go home they usually don't have parents there for one reason or another and so don't get the homework support needed for homework to be meaningful. The first paragraph I had my students write for homework was amazing to me and shocking for them when they got them back because I had comments written all over them! Their belief from past experiences with teachers was that I would never read them and would only look to see that they had done something! I even had one who wrote the same thing over and over again and boy was she mad when she got a F! It just wasn't fair! So, think hard about those assignments you give them and if you do assign homework then you need to check it in class the next day or it just isn't a meaningful and needed assignment. I know I do go on but I guess I just need my coffee! Two more days and break is over!

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