Friday, October 13, 2006


No homework! That's a growing mantra that seems to be gaining momentum. Sure, some sourpusses disagree:

The perceived failures of creative spelling and "there-is-no-right-or-wrong-answer" math have made Americans wary of any newfangled educational fad that seems to encourage slacking. No homework, indeed.

I understand that completely. The idea of creative spelling, for example, leaves me colder than a landlord's heart.

But in certain classes, I've given up altogether on homework. Having received hundreds of papers off the net (many with the addresses still on them), I no longer assign compositions to be done at home. My students are supremely confident I can't tell the difference between their writing and that of professional writers. Sad to say, that confidence can only have come from much experience handing in plagiarized papers.

When I teach ESL kids how to pass the English Regents, I need to force them to write, and I don't trust most of them to do so on their own. I need to see what they can do by themselves. To ensure a maximum passing rate, I need to compel maximum writing.

However, when I teach ESL (which is what I really like to do), I give homework daily--usually 15-20 minutes worth to reinforce whatever I covered that day. If they can do my homework, they can pass my tests (and also, hopefully, get out there and speak English). If they need to copy, they can't (and won't).

I don't think I'd help anyone by dropping my homework requirements.

What's your opinion?

Thanks to Schoolgal
Related: Check out smart and funny April May.
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