Alfie Kohn - Homework
- No study has found any meaningful benefit in homework before HS. Does homework help with the love of learning?
Why is homework given if it does not have value?
- We don’t ask meaningful questions about homework or anything. That’s the way it is!
- We don’t trust children on how to use free time.
- Attitude about use to research
- Better get used to it – it will happen soon in US
- Tougher standards – parents should not complain if no homework
- Homework persists because we do not understand how learning happens
Do not give homework unless you can make a good case for it. Homework is OK if:
- The assignment is likely to get kids to think more deeply and understand the material
- If kids get more excited about the topic. Will kids like math more because of this?
- If you did not design the homework, don’t assign it!
- Ask kids their view – what did you think about the homework?
- Try a week or unit with no homework. How did it affect kids?
Learning and Rigor
What one is doing vs. how well one is doing. - is the key question!
“An over emphasis on assessment can actually undermine the pursuit of excellence.” ( Carol Midgley, Martin Maen)
Effects of getting kids too focused on how well they are doing:
1. Less interested in learning itself
2. Preoccupied with their ability ( There are four reasons kids do well: effort, ability, luck, task difficulty)
3. Prefer easy tasks and quick completion
4. Devastated by failure
5. Quality of learning suffers
Research says giving grades will cause 1, 3 and 5
Other interesting notes from Alfie:
Good way to communicate to parents: Narrative reports
Great way to provide info: Conference with parents
Kids should collect information and share info with parents at conferences
Not the amount of motivation that’s important, it’s the type:
Intrinsic ( I like doing it) Extrinsic ( I am doing it for a reward e.g. grade)
-Extrinsic motivation erodes intrinsic motivation
-The more you reward students the more intrinsic motivation goes down
-Rewards lead to less generosity among peers