Friday, September 5, 2014

Should schools ban homework?

The College de Saint-Ambroise, an elementary school in Quebec, has banned homework for kids in grade one through six for a year. The Canadian media exploded with blogs, tweets and radio talk shows questioning the decision or applauding the action.

This kind of intense debate about homework has a long history. For example, in the 1920s, some physicians were concerned about the impact of homework on children's health.

They argued that children need between six to seven hours a day of fresh air and sunshine. In the 1930s, editor Edward Bok of the Ladies Home Journal also called for an end to the practice. For the rest of the 20th century, different research reports were used to support or dismiss the practice, yet it persists despite the lack of clarity on its educational value.

What is clear is that parents and kids don't live in the world of academic research; they live in the real world where there are piles of homework on the kitchen table.

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