Thursday, February 5, 2009

Homework...

I was listening to the radio on my way to "work" this morning, and came over a pretty interesting story. Director of education in Hordaland, Kjellbjørg Lunde, states in an interview that there are no laws that permits the school to assigne homework to pupils. It's just tradition and a silent agreement between the parents and the school. Moreover, homework should be abandond, since the pupils spend more time at school now then before, and that a work day including homework imay be 10-12 hours for the kids.

So far, so good. It may be that case that kids spend more time at school (I don't know, and couldn't be bothered to find out), and I'm all for trying new and improved methods to teach the nations young ones. So I basically have no issue with the above.

But, then Lunde states something that really grabbed my attetion: The (main?) reason why we should abandond homework, is that the parents have different capabilites to teach the kids at home. And that abandon homework would even out the differences between the students.

Hello! Do you really think that resourceful parents would stop caring about their young ones just because there is no homework? And "even out the differences" implies not only improving the weak students, but holding back the great ones. Do we really want that?

7 comments:

Wilhelm said...

Fcuk!

You totally beat me to it, Chief

Anders said...

You snooze, you loose...

...and your thoughs on this?

Wilhelm said...

Well; considering that the time spent at school keeps increasing while the accumulated knowledge gained appears to stay constant or even decrease, it's fairly obvious that the - for lack of a better term - density of learning is substandard. As such, I agree that if the kids are kept longer at school, there should definitely be some pay-off in the form of acquired knowledge and thus a lesser need for assigning homework.

However; she's really cutting the legs out from under the teachers with such a statement, considering that any "new and improved method" of pedagogy needs time in order to be implemented. Meanwhile, the kids can now legitimately refuse to do their homework, and if it's true that homework is a voluntary activity, teachers can't dock their grades as a result. Basically because the grades cannot depend on whether or not the kid puts time into what has now been reclassified as a extracurricular activity.

This isn't done overnight, and what are the odds that kids in elementary school are able to reason that doing these extracurricular activities could be beneficial in the long run?

On the other hand; if not via homework; how are the kids supposed to be learning about study habits and that pesky term later referred to as "egenlæring"?

and I'm all for trying new and improved methods to teach the nations young ones. So I basically have no issue with the above.

Not to crap all over your argument there, but isn't it basically true that each and every school reform within our lifetime has led to poorer academic results? What makes you think that the same pool of individuals should somehow magically decide to implement changes for the better? If even one of the major reforms had been shown to positively affect the academic achievements - on average - I'd agree with your statement.

The (main?) reason why we should abandond homework, is that the parents have different capabilites to teach the kids at home. And that abandon homework would even out the differences between the students.

Well; Lunde is from SV, and this reeks of something starting with "c" and ending with the fall of the Iron Curtain. Besides, this statement completely negates the existence of individual academic aptitude and interest among the general population, which is as ignorant as it gets. And what about school-to-school and regional differences between the aptitude of teachers?

For a more complete discussion of how the combination of parents' abilities and individual differences affect academic outcome, see Charles Darwin's "Origin Of Species"

Anders said...

Not to crap all over your argument there, but isn't it basically true that each and every school reform within our lifetime has led to poorer academic results?

That's why I added "improved" to my argument. 'cause obvious the reforms up to now hasn't been "improved", just new... Ain't I clever, eh?
:-D

Wilhelm said...

You clever SOFAB....

Just watched Lunde make some statements on the nine o'clock news, and I find it depressing that she does not know to distinguish between individual aptitudes, attitudes towards learning and interest in school work, the level of education of parents and their willingness to be involved, and variability in teacher quality.

Torbjørn said...

I think Lunde's argumentation sounds like the traditional SV view: If you can't make everybody good at school, make nobody good.

Wilhelm said...

...a.k.a. "I sucked at school, and nobody's smarter than me, so everybody should be kept back"

Usually followed by "I'll show everybody.....EVERYBODY!!! MuahhahahahahahaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAA"