Editors’ Debate: We Dish…You Decide Homework: Time Waster or Grade Saver? -Pro

Kirsten Dorman, Editor in Chief

In a world where it’s demonized as a tool to make students suffer, many fail to see the value of homework. While nobody looks forward to homework after a long day, it’s integral to learning.

  Homework is a great tool for taking advantage of our brains’ anatomy. Repetition is a great way for our brains to form more vivid memories because of a process called consolidation. 

Memories are created when the same group of neurons is activated and reactivated in certain patterns. Repetition enhances the brain’s ability to move memories from temporary storage in the hippocampus to the outer cortex, where more permanent memories go. 

It stands to reason, then, that seeing the same information several times benefits students by boosting their brains’ natural abilities.

Assigning homework is not only a great way for educators to evaluate students’ abilities, but for students to become familiar with their own learning strengths and weaknesses.

Instead of dismissing the idea of homework altogether, attention should be paid to what kind, why, and when it’s assigned.

The National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and the National Education Association (NEA) authored a parent guide, “Helping Your Child Get the Most Out of Homework.” According to the guide, children in different grades should receive amounts of work that correlate to their level of learning as well as, in high school, the course level they choose.

Homework’s benefits should not be dismissed when homework can benefit students so tremendously. It should deepen students’ understanding and appreciation of what they’re learning.

Fulfilling this goal is only possible through assigning homework that doesn’t take up students’ time and makes the most of it instead, cultivating a sense of responsibility for learning. 

According to “Homework: Perspectives” from the Association for Middle Level Education, by Cathy Vatterott, professor of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, “When properly designed, homework encourages students to self-evaluate and reflect on their learning.”

The detrimental effects of homework only surface when it’s assigned in excess. Though the release of stress hormones can enhance memory, being overwhelmed has the opposite effect, according to the University of Queensland. 

Although not everyone is headed for college, it’s worth it to bear in mind that everyone could use a stronger mind. No matter students’ post high-school plans, homework is a step in the right direction.