Homework: Obsolete and Ineffective

Home S&S Opinion Homework: Obsolete and Ineffective
Homework: Obsolete and Ineffective
Nancy Wu (Soph.) completes homework assignments during her fourth period Journalism class. (Diana Zhang)

By SARMAD SHERAZ
Contributing Writer

The purpose and usefulness of issuing homework daily is not a new issue; it has been debated in education systems for years.

Homework is something that affects everyone at some point in their lives. Everyone does it, whether it is in elementary school, middle school or high school. By the time students are in college, homework is no longer a new concept and is considered a part of life as a student.

The sheer amount of issued homework has been questioned many times by frustrated students and parents who believe that homework takes up valuable family time. After work, parents rarely have time to connect with their kids, and with their kids having to do homework, parents have a right to be frustrated with lack of family time.

It is not just parents who are frustrated with homework. Students themselves have had enough of teachers issuing unfair amounts of homework to be due the next day. Home is not a place for tears and stress: home is meant to be a place of relaxation and family time.

With the copious amount of homework plus the expectation to study for quizzes and tests on a weekly basis, students can feel extremely stressed out, and according to a homework study conducted by Stanford Graduate School of Education, “excessive homework causes high stress levels and physical health problems.”

Denise Pope, co-author of this study, told CNN that those working on the study found a “clear connection between students’ stress and physical impacts — migraines, ulcers and other stomach problems, sleep deprivation and exhaustion, and weight loss.”

However, homework is not a source of stress all over the world. Finland has been praised for having a very well developed educational system in which students are given less homework, more breaks in between classes, and more time to sleep, yet it still ends up ranking among one of the best educational systems along with those of South Korea, Japan and Singapore, all three of which rank higher than the American educational system.

According to many sources, including CNN, “Finland children don’t start school until they are 7 years old.” This is not the only thing that is different in schools in Finland. CNN also states that “Finland assigns little homework and its students have some of the highest test scores in the world.” Even with limited homework, Finland still manages to come out as one of the best educational systems in the world, coming fifth in a chart by Pearson Education showing the educational rankings of countries with the U.S coming in at fourteenth in the chart.

Finland’s educational system shows us that even with limited homework, students still learn the same as, if not more than those in the American educational system, which issues a lot more homework, less sleep time and even shorter breaks between classes. The results show that doing homework for three to six  hours a day does not improve learning at all, which is why limiting homework – or even going as far as banning it – can help improve learning for American students.

By following Finland’s example of education, not only would students be less stressed out and less prone to developing problems, such as anxiety and depression, but also the educational system as a whole may improve, along with our educational ranking.

With limited homework, students would have more time to focus on other aspects of their lives other than education, such as sports or family time. By having more free time to do sports or any other physical activity, childhood obesity rates could start declining because fewer children would be sitting around all day at a desk doing homework, and more children would be outside with their friends playing sports or even just walking outside for a change.

School should not be the one thing ruling a student, especially after the school bell rings at the end of the day. Most importantly though, it definitely should not be stopping a student from spending his or her valuable time elsewhere. School is meant to be a place that encourages learning, not a place that makes kids dislike education. A little homework is okay, but three to six hours of homework plus seven hours at school per day is too much.

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