Lots of homework is a sign of a rigorous curriculum. Many people equate lots of homework with a tough school, regardless of the type or length of assignments Jackson, Parents will often brag: If some homework is good for children, then more homework must be even better.
If 10 math problems for homework are good, then 40 problems must be better. This belief, more than any other, is responsible for the piling on of hours of homework in many schools today. Yet we all know that those assignments could be busywork, of no educational value Jackson, Ah, if it were only that simple. More time does not necessarily equal more learning. The "more is always better" argument ignores the quality of work and the level of learning required.
Rigor is challenge—but it is not necessarily the same challenge for each student. Given the diverse nature of students, challenging learning experiences will vary for different students.
Good teachers give homework; good students do their homework. Probably the most disturbing belief is the belief in the inherent goodness of homework, regardless of the type or length of assignment.
Homework advocates have believed it for years, never questioning whether it might not be true. This belief is born from both the belief that homework teaches responsibility and discipline and the belief that "lots of homework" equals "rigor. This mindset is so ingrained that teachers apologize to other teachers for not giving homework!
The danger in the belief that good students do their homework is the moral judgment that tends to accompany this belief. To children who dutifully complete homework, we often attribute the virtues of being compliant and hardworking.
Therein lies the problem. Students without supportive parents or with single parents overburdened trying to make ends meet , with inadequate home environments for completing homework, or with parents intellectually unable to help them are less likely to complete homework Vatterott, Are these less advantaged students bad?
These beliefs form a dogma, a homework culture. The foundations of that culture are a trinity of very old philosophies. Homework culture is a complex mix of moralistic views, puritanism, and behaviorism. The beliefs that underlie the homework dogma have been fed by our moralistic views of human nature, the puritan work ethic that is embedded in our culture, and behaviorist practices that still reside in our schools. An exploration of these philosophies will illuminate the foundations of the dogma that is homework culture.
Historically, one mission of the school has been to instill moral values. They must be controlled and taught to be compliant. Therefore, it follows that it is necessary to use homework to teach responsibility. If students naturally have a tendency to do evil, then they cannot be trusted to use time wisely. No one would dispute that we want to encourage students to work hard. After all, hard work is what made America great, right?
The Puritans believed hard work was an honor to God that would lead to a prosperous reward. That work ethic brings to mind the stereotypical stern schoolmarm, rapping a ruler against the desk and saying "Get busy! Hard work is good for you regardless of the pointlessness of the task. Hard works builds character. Hard work is painful; suffering is virtuous. Here we see the origin of Belief 4, that more work equals rigor, and Belief 5, that "good" students do their homework and "good" teachers make students work hard.
Unfortunately, when it comes to learning, the bleaker side of the puritan work ethic has also taken hold: If it is "rigorous," or better yet painful, then it must have merit. The work ethic is obvious in views that homework is a way to train students how to work—that homework trains students how to study, how to work diligently and persistently, and how to delay gratification Bempechat, Along similar lines, homework is also viewed as practice for being a worker: Homework is work , not play.
So it helps to have the right attitude. Homework means business, and the student should expect to buckle down. As in the workplace, careless efforts and a laissez-faire attitude are likely to make the wrong impression. Which begs the question: Is our job as educators to produce learners or workers?
No philosophy is more firmly rooted in education than behaviorism. The idea that behavior can be controlled by rewards and punishment is so embedded in the day-to-day practices of school, one rarely even notices it Kohn, Discipline, grades, attendance policies, honor rolls, and even the way teachers use praise and disapproval—all reflect this philosophy that behavior can be controlled by external stimuli.
Behaviorism is most evident in the use of late policies and zeros for uncompleted homework more about that in Chapter 4. The moralistic, puritanistic, and behavioristic foundations are so firmly entrenched in homework culture, traditional homework practices may be accepted without question by both teachers and parents, as if a sort of brainwashing has occurred. To use a s metaphor, "if you drank the Kool-Aid," you may not realize how the cult affects your attitudes about homework.
Homework beliefs and their historical influences affect the debate today in insidious ways. The arguments today are strongly reminiscent of the earlier arguments for and against homework, yet something is different. This time around we face new and unique challenges. Never before have we lived with the specter of No Child Left Behind and the accountability it demands. The pressure to meet standards has never been more intense, and homework is seen as a tool for meeting those standards.
The pressure has changed education even at the kindergarten and 1st grade levels. A Newsweek cover story called it the "new first grade": Thirty years ago first grade was for learning how to read.
Many parents complain that homework is now routinely assigned in kindergarten and 1st grade. YouTube hosts a now famous call from a 4-year-old preschooler who needed help with his "takeaway" math homework.
In the desperation to meet standards, even recess has been affected. One survey indicated that only 70 percent of kindergarten classrooms had a recess period Pellegrini, Media and technology have broadened the homework debate to be more inclusive than in the past; more people are participating in the conversation.
The Internet has given the public more information, served as a forum for many pro-homework and anti-homework blogs, and given us a window to similar debates in other countries. Today the homework debate is played out on iVillage and other parenting Web sites, as well as on radio and television and in the print media.
Web sites such as www. Technology has reduced the isolation of parents; their private homework struggles can now be vented in public with the click of a mouse. With a seemingly endless supply of television talk shows, quasi-news shows such as Dateline , and round-the-clock cable news coverage, issues affecting families—including homework—have received more coverage.
The availability of online media has allowed us to access that homework story on Today or that homework article in the New York Times long after publication, and without leaving our homes. Media and technology have helped to accelerate the growth of the anti-homework movement.
But the media has also been an enemy of the anti-homework movement. Every year, around back-to-school time, the media buries us with books, magazine articles, and television segments that reinforce a blind acceptance of homework as a good thing, endorsing the importance of homework and offering parents the same stale tips for getting children to do homework "without tears. An American Academy of Pediatrics report labeled the trend "the professionalization of parenthood": Parents receive messages from a variety of sources stating that good parents actively build every skill and aptitude their child might need from the earliest ages.
The new mass hysteria has parents driven by fear. For many parents, the mantra has become "do whatever it takes" to get their child accepted at the best college—all of this with a tacit acceptance of the premise that admission into Harvard equals a high-paying career, which equals happiness.
As one high school student put it: They go to get good grades, which brings them to college, which brings them the high-paying job, which brings them happiness, so they think. And as the superintendent in one wealthy district sardonically stated, "Our parents believe there are three career paths for their children: There seems to be little discussion that, in fact, this could be a faulty hypothesis, and only recently have some experts advised parents to question whether the Ivy League is right for their child.
Three faulty assumptions actually feed this trend: Even though Haley is a good student—taking three AP classes, active in cheerleading and other activities—her mom is worried that she is not in the top 10 percent of her class. The stress is cultural—absorbed by parents and then fed to their children, creating a hypercompetitive attitude for both parents and children: Parents receive the message that if their children are not well prepared, well balanced, and high achieving, they will not get a desired spot in higher education.
Even parents who wish to take a lower-key approach to child rearing fear slowing down when they perceive everyone else is on the fast track. This trend has led many parents to have a somewhat schizophrenic attitude toward homework.
Although never proven by research, parents assume an automatic relationship between homework and future success. They have bought into the cult of beliefs about homework and accepted a connection between hours of homework and acceptance to an elite college.
Unfortunately, the manner in which many AP courses are taught reinforces this belief. They wrongly assume that if it takes hours of homework in high school to guarantee admission to college, so be it. Some parents use tutoring to give their college-bound children a leg up. But more often, for parents who can afford it, the answer to the stressful and time-consuming job of supervising homework has been to "subcontract" the job to a tutor.
One of the potential negative effects of the tutoring craze has been the possibility that mass tutoring may "raise the bar" for homework assignments. After all, if most students are getting adult help with homework, it gives teachers the misperception that the students know more than they really do. It makes it appear that students are ready for more challenging assignments.
The candy factory episode of the classic I Love Lucy sitcom comes to mind. Lucy and Ethel are hired to work on an assembly line wrapping chocolates that pass by them on a conveyor belt. Struggling to keep up with the pace, they begin taking chocolates off the conveyor and stuffing them in their mouths and their hats. When the supervisor comes to check on their progress, they appear to be keeping up, so she yells to the back, "Speed it up!
At the same time that some parents are mired in the mass hysteria, a backlash is occurring. Although some are recommending that homework be abolished, many more are suggesting that excessive homework is interfering with family life and not worth the loss of a carefree childhood. The movement is less an anti-homework movement than an anti—excessive homework movement, based on the idea that children should not have longer than an eight-hour workday Vatterott, Nearly 30 years ago, David Elkind warned about The Hurried Child —a trend to push children too hard, to overstructure their time, and to burden them with too many adult responsibilities.
In , the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report indicating the importance of undirected playtime for children Ginsburg, The report stated that play not only enhances social and emotional development but also helps to maintain parent-child bonds.
It also recommended that pediatricians encourage active play and discourage parents from the overuse of passive entertainment for children such as television and computer games.
Some parents have already heeded this advice. Challenging the Cult of Speed Honore, The London-based author claims that the Slow Movement can help people live happier, healthier, and more productive lives by slowing down their pace. The immediate effects are simple—loss of leisure time, stress, and overall health.
Loss of leisure time. Their concerns are supported by recent brain research showing the importance of downtime and rest for peak learning efficiency Jensen, The stress levels of school-age children are another concern. In an acknowledgment of the stress experienced by high school students, Stanford University now sponsors a program called Challenge Success formerly called Stressed Out Students [SOS] that works with school teams composed of the principal, students, parents, counselors, and teachers or other adults Pope, And finally, parents are concerned about the effect of excessive homework on the overall physical and psychological health of children.
The traditional practice of assigning homework in every subject every night and the antiquated reliance on textbooks as curriculum have led to a physical problem. The weight of the backpack has been a subject of concern for some time, with an increasing number of students complaining of back pain Galley, Yet in one study of students in grades 5 to 8, more than half the students interviewed said they regularly carried backpack loads that were heavier than 15 percent of their body weight, and roughly one-third of the students interviewed had a history of back pain Galley, Research done more recently now supports the recommendation that 10 percent of body weight be the cutoff for safe use of backpacks at all grade levels.
Researchers recommend that schools review homework policies to reduce the necessity of carrying textbooks home Moore et al. Many children sacrifice fresh air, exercise, or sleep to toil over hours of homework. Recent alarming news about the level of childhood obesity, the negative effects of sleep deprivation, and the established connection between sleep deprivation and obesity add strong arguments to the move to reduce homework to allow for more exercise and sleep.
One child advocacy expert has compiled cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy physical, emotional, and spiritual development. Their concern, as stated by Alfie Kohn, is that homework may be "the single most reliable extinguisher of the flame of curiosity" , p. Historically, the homework debate has continued to repeat itself. But the flawed belief system that homework is grounded on has yet to be adequately challenged.
The mass hysteria and balance movements illustrate the breadth of those attitudes. The pendulum is swinging both ways at the same time. As a country, the United States is so diverse economically, culturally, and in parenting styles, it is not surprising that not all would agree on a practice that bridges both school and family life. He was also called Mahatma, which is a title of honour. Ghandi was known for supporting non-violent forms of protest.
Rudyard Kipling — Rudyard Kipling is an English author who spent his some of his life as a child and young adult in India. His time in India and the culture there inspired much of his writing. Access thousands of brilliant resources to help your child be the best they can be.
The capital of India is New Delhi, but the largest city is Mumbai. Hindi is the main language in India, and most people speak English as well. The currency in India is the rupee. The main religion in India is Hinduism. The next most popular religion is Islam.
Women in India wear saris, and men wear dhotis. Both are long pieces of cloth draped around the body in a certain way. Cows are seen as sacred in India — nobody eats beef, and most people are vegetarians.
India has a very large film industry called Bollywood. Animals found in India include Bengal tigers, elephants, flying foxes, lions and macaques. Indian Independence Day is celebrated on 15 August. India became independent after British rule on 15 August Many women in India wear saris , which are long pieces of cloth draped around the waist and shoulders — like a dress.
Men in India where dhotis, which is another kind of long piece of cloth that is tied around the waist and between the legs — like trousers. A popular instrument in India is the sitar, which is like a guitar but with a much longer neck.
The monsoon season in India is the time when the country has the most rain, and it can last from July to September. One of the main festivals in India is Diwali — it takes place around the end of October, and signals the start of the new year in the Indian calendar.
The main river in India is the Ganges, in the northeast of the country. Cows are considered sacred in India , and must not be harmed. They are allowed to go where they want, and may even cause traffic jams when they walk through cities! India is the only country in the world where both lions and tigers live. Children in India begin school in April or June. Have a look through the gallery below and see if you can identify all these images: How many countries in Asia can you name?
Diwali National Geographic Kids:
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