Finally get rid of homework: harassment for parents and children

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The Süddeutsche Zeitung reports today on the theses of our author Armin Himmelrath: He wants to do away with homework. And based on Best of HR –® Why.


Here writes for you:


Armin Himmelrath Himmelrath_arminArmin Himmelrath is a free education and science journalist.


From the author:




Why must homework be?

How do you learn well and correctly in school? Through intuition and experimentation - and through homework. That's what many parents, teachers and students think. Only: That's not true. Studies have shown time and again that the pedagogical effect of homework is zero.

  • Why, however, does the homework still cover the everyday life of families with school-age children?
  • Why are teachers, parents and even students mostly convinced that homework must be an elementary part of school learning processes?
  • Where does the deep, almost religious belief in a pedagogical instrument, the effectiveness of which has never really been proven?

Chicane for parents and children

“Homework: an 'educational ritual' survives” - this is how the Neue Zürcher Zeitung headlined an article in November 2013 and quoted, among other things, pediatrician and author of educational guides, Remo Largo: “They do nothing. This only harasses students and parents ”.

And for Gabriel Romano from the Preschool and Primary School of the Bern University of Teacher Education, homework is just a “pedagogical ritual” without in-depth teaching Sense.

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“Homework has no educational value”

Because time and again scientists have shown that homework hardly produces learning effects:

  •  As early as 1904, experimental psychologist Ernst Meumann found that pupils' achievements in their homework “were considerably inferior on average in terms of materials and form” than the solutions that the children had developed at school during class.
  •  In 1958, the educational scientist Bernhard Wittmann from Mülheim did not let pupils from several classes in Duisburg do two homework in two subjects. The experiment lasted four months, then the results were compared with other classes: “Homework has no material educational value,” the educator noted, “Homework does not increase the knowledge and skills of the students.”
  • Hans Gängler, educational scientist at the TU Dresden, found in 2008 that it doesn't matter at all whether you do math homework right after school, at night under the covers or not at all - the effect on the censorship certificate is “zero”. Nevertheless, homework by teachers would be "prescribed" uncritically and across the board, on the assumption that "they would have some positive effect on the students". Gängler continued: “Good students don't necessarily get better from homework, and bad students at home simply don't understand what they didn't understand well in the morning.”
  • Recently, 2013 had spoken to the sociologist Jutta Allmendinger of the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin, and pointed out that homework has intensified social inequality in education processes. Good students who least need them receive the greatest support at home; but the encouraging domestic environment is often lacking in those with whom additional learning and help might actually bring something.

time for a change

In addition, many participants repeatedly report on critical and negative homeworking experiences: Teachers rob the tasks - their announcement, but above all the tedious control - valuable teaching time. The students will pay for the time after the end of the lesson. And parents are forced by homework into the role of substitute teachers. In short, homework causes dissatisfaction and is a major stress factor for everyone involved.

But where does this deep-seated belief come from, that such tasks still promote learning? Maybe it's because they have been mentioned in school regulations for more than 500 years and we've all experienced school only with homework. But given the scientific findings, would not it be time to question the meaning of homework? The use of the cane was considered to be a pedagogical means for centuries - until, fortunately, there was a new social consensus. With homework, such a learning process is now more than overdue.

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