Public schools find themselves caught between two contrary demands: pressure to boost test scores and pressure to maintain student wellness (“Down With Homework, Say U.S. School Districts,” The Wall Street Journal, Dec. 13). If the past is any indication, however, they will go to one extreme or the other rather than trying to achieve a balance.
I believe that homework done properly plays an important role in reinforcing classroom instruction. The key to doing so is to use common sense. The number of hours assigned each week needs to be adjusted to the age of students. Elementary school children should not be given the same number of hours as high school students. Moreover, homework should not be busywork. It actually can be made enjoyable. Too often, however, homework consists of sheets of exercises that bore students.
When I was in high school, my Spanish teacher routinely assigned daily homework that helped me master what was taught in class. I saw the purpose and went to class the next day with renewed confidence. I learned more in three years of Spanish in high school than I did in three years in college. In fact, I was placed in an advanced class based on a screening test. I owe that to how Spanish was taught, including homework.
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