Excessive homework ‘a pointless exercise’ for students

EXCESSIVE homework is a pointless exercise that is eroding family life, an education expert has claimed.

“The Irish education system is stuck in a vortex and homework is actually creating bad habits for life in our nation’s children,” said Dr Naoisé O’Reilly.

She said parents expected their children to be given homework and teachers were prescribing massive amounts, like a useless drug.

“Perhaps parents should start asking how doing homework helps you get on in life,” she said

Dr O’Reilly believes there are more creative and effective ways for young people to retain information.

“Extensive research in this field at home and abroad has led me to discover that homework is a pointless exercise that is eroding family life with family time and even weekends being eaten into as a result,” she said.

Dr O’Reilly set up the Homework Club in Blanchardstown, Dublin, in February 2009 to help young people, especially those with dyslexia and other conditions, to succeed in exams.

She said the Junior and Leaving Certificate study plan material lacked any resemblance of a cohesive structure. She questioned why students were being made to do homework on top of exam study.

Dr O’Reilly, who has dyslexia, said students with learning difficulties and visual and hearing impairments were particularly challenged.

“There are examples of parents actually doing their homework for them just so thy won’t get into trouble.”

The National Parents Council Post Primary (NPCPP) agreed the time students spend doing homework needed to be examined. NPCPP spokeswoman Jackie O’Callaghan said teachers looked at their own subject and failed to see the bigger picture, so children ended up spending up to four hours on homework.

She suggested teachers allow class time to students so they could ask questions if they had a problem.

Áine Lynch, chief executive of the National Parents Council Primary, said homework in its current format must be looked at.

“We know that it creates a huge amount of stress in a lot of homes,” she said.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

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