This week, our theme is ‘Be Reflective’.
This week, our theme is ‘Be Reflective’. As part of our drive for continual improvement, we are constantly reflecting upon what we do. Recently, there was an interesting article about homework in The Guardian: A gold star to any parent who rebels against homework, which debated whether homework represented effective learning or is it a waste of time? This is naturally a common discussion point for both teachers and parents; we are constantly reflecting and reviewing homework as part of the leadership of the school. Of course, much depends on the year group and the level at which a student is working! However, the real issue is not about the level of homework but about the quality or effectiveness.
I strongly believe that there needs to be a balance. Recent research suggests that homework can enrich learning, but doing too much may have the opposite effect. It is important to refer to a recent study for example, that found, when Year 7 - 9 students were given more than 100 minutes of homework per day, their Mathematics and Science scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015).
I also think that we should consider the fact that well-structured homework not only strengthens student learning, but it can also provide ways to develop links between home and school. Homework allows parents to see and talk about what their children are learning, and helps parents and teachers to reflect upon ways to support student learning. Nevertheless, parent involvement can also be detrimental. Patall, Cooper, and Robinson (2008) found that students did worse when their parents were perceived as intrusive or controlling. You might therefore, be interested in this article from The Times: http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/helping-with-homework-means-children-do-worse-at-school-tr6lvm773. Having just had a Year 7 Consultation Evening, it was lovely to see that our parents really do want to support their daughter’s learning and that they enjoy being able to share this through homework. We are incredibly grateful to our parents for this, as we have no doubt that it is this ‘triangulation’ that contributes to making Invicta such a good school.
Whatever the advantages and disadvantages of homework, I do not believe the question should be ‘homework or not’? Instead, we should be asking, "How can we transform homework so that it is engaging, relevant, and supports the learning of our girls?" I have no doubt that we will reflect upon this, throughout not only this week, but for many weeks to come!