Homework is an essential element of education in the US and most of the western world but also virtually in all other countries with very different cultures. The reason why this practice became so universal is that the benefits of homework prove vital in ensuring efficient education by complementing face to face instruction in class.
Put shortly, its importance and benefits could be explained by the fact that it stimulates independent individual work and evaluation, work discipline, consolidation of acquired knowledge through practice, while also allowing students to approach complex individual projects that are normally outside the scope of regular classes due to insufficient time.
10 Unbelievable Benefits of Homework
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- Educates discipline – by creating a routine daily activity, home task creates a habit of working regularly and systematically, thus, preparing young learners for higher-level studies or intense effort strides during adulthood, that could be relevant for many intellectually demanding jobs.
- Works towards knowledge expansion and consolidation. Oftentimes, during classwork, only key points of a topic are examined and only a limited number of exercises of a given type are solved. By contrast, home assignments involve in-depth studying, long reads, and extensive practice in solving exercises, all of which help consolidate this knowledge.
- Offers learners the chance to work alone, without any interference or aid from teachers or classmates. This may lead to greater confidence in performing tasks independently.
- Allows people to learn at their own pace in their individual manner. It is no secret that learning styles differ hugely across individuals. There are slow learners that understand things at a much deeper level, there are those who find it easier to learn by reading content, questions, or tasks aloud, there are those with dyslexia which might need to dedicate more time to reading but which are perfectly capable intellectually.
- Helps catch up with class material. In case students fail to understand the material taught in class, completing corresponding assignments may be extremely helpful in catching up. Given how closely homework follows classroom material, students could simply complete these assignments to understand or compensate for what was missed in class. Moreover, it would help dive deeper into the topic at the next lesson.
- Allows working on complex projects. Time in class is limited so only a relatively restricted set of activities may be performed. Meanwhile, certain independent research, thinking, writing, and planning skills are developed only through complex projects outside the class.
- Helps focus on gaps in studied material. If learners understand that they have problems with a certain topic, they may opt to perform additional homework on these topics to address such weak spots. This is especially important before quizzes or exams.
- Builds responsibility – while learners might feel their teachers or lecturers are partially responsible for what they understand in class, with homework, they have a much more acute sense of responsibility.
- Important for self-evaluation. If you feel able to get assignment done without problems, this is a good indicator that you have mastered the corresponding material well and are ready to take an exam on it.
- Indispensable element for individual evaluation. The most efficient way in which teachers assess students in big classes is by evaluating their work, which is mostly performed at home. Various home assignments show the strength of arguments, depth of thought or planning, quality of research or sources used, correctness of execution when solving problems, creativity and originality.
All these positive effects of homework justify its beneficial role and extensive use by educational systems throughout the world. Importantly, these benefits of homework do not solely come from studying more but also from studying differently.
Read also: Online class help for busy students.
Interesting Facts on How Homework Helps Students
There are a few gripping facts about homework that might change how people look at it. Thus, homework is an essential means through which spaced repetition is employed for efficient memorization. It turns out that simply reading or listening to information just once results in only a tiny fraction of it being recorded in long-term memory. By contrast, when repetition is involved, solid knowledge is acquired and stored for a really long time. Homework is usually specifically built so that it requires that learners revisit information from a current topic or chapter as well as material that has been covered earlier, including in previous years.
By the way, according to researchers investigating learning mechanisms, this practice of making references to previously studied content is called interleaving and has great importance in properly interconnecting different blocks of knowledge into an integrated system that is easily navigated by the person. In other words, while block learning makes closely familiar with a narrow topic, subfield, type of exercise, interleaving allows to know where this knowledge stands in the greater scheme of things and in what circumstances it is appropriate to apply it.
Both spaced repetition and interleaving are methods that work in class as well, but they work very differently (usually better) at home given that all work is individual more time can be spent reviewing previously covered content and making appropriate links.
Apart from these homework facts, another interesting and overlooked one is that it facilitates alternating between the diffuse mode and focused mode of brain functioning. While this mode is employed when closely concentrating on a problem and ways to solve it, diffuse thinking happens in the background, for instance, when you are taking a shower or jogging. While people might not even think about the problem, their brain does process it in the background, so that when they approach this problem again in this mode, they would typically find it much easier to solve it.
Read also: If you understand, that you need more free time, just pay for homework to feel free.
Recommended Amount of Homework
A large 2014 report by the UK Department for Education concluded that pupils in year 9 spending 2-3 hours doing homework on an average weeknight were roughly 10 times more likely to achieve good grades in 5 subjects as part of studies leading to a General Certificate of Secondary Education. Obviously, while this demonstrates the homework utility, one could wonder how much of it is beneficial.
Looking back at our country, both the US National Parent Teacher Association and the US National Education Association suggest using the “10-minute Rule" for estimating the homework amount appropriate for pupils. According to this rule, a child's grade should be multiplied by 10, which yields a rough estimate in minutes of the suggested workload at home. There is also evidence that exceeding the limit of 2.5 hours a night for senior high school students leads to diminishing benefits.
All these mean that when evaluating the pros and cons of homework one should pay separate attention to the workload – low benefits are associated both with insufficient load and with excessive load. As for university undergraduates, general guidelines suggest spending three hours of learning for each credit hour of the course (but this parameter often reaches 9 hours for certain courses).
Interestingly, there are countries like Finland, where students have high academic achievements despite fewer than average hours, however, banning homework based on this data alone is premature and might not result in any benefits, given that there could be dozens of other relevant factors specific to their educational system at play.
Help From EduBirdie As Benefit for Homework
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