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He recommended the elimination of homework for all students under the age of 15 and a limit of one hour nightly for older students.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.
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.
The benefits of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise for children were widely accepted, and homework had the potential to interfere.
They bear a striking similarity to the arguments waged in today's debate over homework.
At the end of the 19th century, attendance in grades 1 through 4 was irregular for many students, and most classrooms were multi-age.
Attitudes toward homework have historically reflected societal trends and the prevailing educational philosophy of the time, and each swing of the pendulum is colored by unique historical events and sentiments that drove the movement for or against homework.
Yet the historical arguments on both sides are familiar.Homework was viewed as a culprit that robbed children of important opportunities for social interaction.At the same time, labor leaders were protesting working conditions for adults, advocating for a 40-hour workweek.But the arguments both for and against homework are not new, as indicated by a consistent swing of the pendulum over the last 100 years between pro-homework and anti-homework attitudes.The history of homework and surrounding attitudes is relevant because the roots of homework dogma developed and became entrenched over the last 100 years.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.Teachers are afraid not to give homework for fear of being perceived as "easy." Despite there being more diversity among learners in our schools than ever, many teachers continue to assign the same homework to all students in the class and continue to disproportionately fail students from lower-income households for not doing homework, in essence punishing them for lack of an adequate environment in which to do homework.One hundred years ago, rather than diagnosing children with attention deficit disorder, pediatricians simply prescribed more outdoor exercise.Homework was blamed for nervous conditions in children, eyestrain, stress, lack of sleep, and other conditions.Homework has generally been viewed as a positive practice and accepted without question as part of the student routine. As the culture has changed, and as schools and families have changed, homework has become problematic for more and more students, parents, and teachers.The Internet and bookstores are crowded with books offering parents advice on how to get children to do homework.