Primary teachers defend benefits of homework

HOMEWORK plays an important role in children’s education and provides a link with parents, say primary teachers.

The Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO) was responding to the claim from principals that there is little evidence that homework has any real benefit.

The Irish Primary Principals’ Network had told TDs and senators that it can cause stress between parents and children, eats into quality time at home and that inexperienced teachers often give too much homework.

They also said some teachers admit giving homework only because they think parents expect it, but can lose teaching time when correcting large amounts of homework.

While the IPPN recommended to the Oireachtas education committee that serious research and analysis is needed on the role of homework, an INTO spokesman said it remains the most regular and one of the most important links between home and school.

“It allows a parent or guardian to become involved in children’s school work and see on a regular basis how they are doing in school. It also allows teachers to assess learning and extend it beyond the classroom,” he said.

Many schools suggest guidelines on the amount of homework for pupils, ranging from 10 or 15 minutes for infants up to about an hour for children in fifth and sixth class. But, the INTO says, these are only guidelines and some children will have the work done in a fraction of the time while others will struggle to do it in twice that time.

The spokesman said some issues are best decided at each school, such as whether homework be assigned at weekends, whether parents should sign off on homework and the kind of work assigned to very young children.

“Parents should treat regular ‘no homework’ tales with a little bit of caution and find out if they have a little genius who has done it while the teacher is writing on the board in school or a child with a genuine problem who can’t manage to write it down at all,” added the spokesman.


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