This is a riveting debate between educators and students. Students believe they are is no need for homework whereas educators believe homework is necessary. Today, a portion of educators have started to align with students. This support has fueled the movement to end homework. Question is, is the movement to end homework wrong?
In the first place, Why do we need homework?
Homework is an important tool in the class environment.
Instructors often worry that at the end of a class session, students have not understood anything important. In most instances, this fear is not unfounded. Instructors discuss new concepts in class that are often not easy to muster.
To gauge student understanding, instructors choose to provide homework that covers in-depth topics that were discussed in class. They evaluate their students' performance in offline or online class homework as a testament to their understanding of critical topics learned in class while also extrapolating the results to project students' performance in their finals.
Such deductive reasoning falls short. The goal of doing homework according to students is not to read class notes and assigned readings. Rather, they seek to complete it as soon as possible so that they can focus on other more interesting things to do. Whereas instructors expect students will have fun when studying, the students feel dread.
There is a mismatch between why instructors give homework and what students want.
Why is there a movement to end homework?
The movement to end homework is driven by another question: why do we need homework? Essentially, homework is extremely monolithic and does not serve unique students' needs. This means when students do homework it is not suited to them rather it is suited to the whole class. It is more suited to the curriculum rather than the needs of a class lent alone to a student.
Homework does not serve to increase the academic achievement of a student. It only serves to increase adherence to the curriculum. In short, conformity rather than individual progress or creativity. No wonder students have many excuses for not doing homework.
When schools focus on academics rather than the growth of talent and skills, students complete school by being yoked to academic expertise without having talent and skills. Focusing on homework will lead to students not having time to develop their talents and skills.
But there is more in the analysis of why we do not need homework than meets the eye. Looking at the movement to end homework, you might be slighted to think it is just a movement by lazy students and educators who want to get out of doing or marking homework. You are quite wrong: the movement to end homework is part of a global movement to reimagine the classroom and education.
Since the invention of modern education principles, education has not changed much. Education started being limited to the wealthy. Only the rich could have their children learn foreign languages, arts, mathematics, and sciences. That began to change with the advent of industrialization. As the world geared towards industrialization, the masses were introduced to education because of the need for them to run factories, machines, and organizations. Also, new systems of government were coming in that needed people well-versed in education. This change in the target market of education from the rich to the masses took place from the 1500s to the 1800s.
Our current education system is hedged on the education system of the late 1800s. Nothing much has changed regarding the format of education since then. Only new technologies, concepts, and tools have been introduced but we have not changed its role, that education is a system to skill workers for capitalism.
It is a time for a change.
Education should serve the purpose of growing talents and skills not creating workers. It is more relevant now as we move to a new age of technology.
Since the 1950s, technology has advanced at a rapid pace with advancements such as computers, the internet, mobile phones, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence. As technology has progressed, new industries have been created while old ones built in the industrial age have succumbed to redundancy. With these changes, some jobs have become redundant while others have become prominent. Schools have become irrelevant as building a youtube career outpaces the income of desk jobs. Current AI technologies are making many job types redundant now and in the future. It begs the question: why are we even going to higher education only to be slapped with jobs that are not applicable in the workplace?
We need to rethink education. Within this rethink, homework must go. It does not build any talent or skills that are relevant for the technology age. It is just a waste of time, time that could have been spent building skills and talents while having life experiences.
We need change and preparation for the future, homework does not fit the bill.