Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Homework vs. Playtime: A controversial analysis

Zoe Russeck
Opinions Editor

Homework: (schoolwork assigned to be done outside the classroom), distinguished from classwork. We spend the majority of our young life in fluorescent lit, industrial classrooms, using our brains and expanding our knowledge. Learning is great; however, I am sure anyone reading this can understand the grief it brings students to have to continue this school work out of school and deep into the night. The time after school should be dedicated to our own wonders. It should be a time for students to cultivate other parts of life. Yes, homework has been part of life for generations, but does that make it right?
  The “Latino Perspectives Magazine” says that in the 20th century, the brain was viewed as a muscle and muscles need to be exercised. The logic behind that was that exercise can be done at home so students should be working their brains at home. In the 1940’s schools started switching from memorization to problem solving which lead them to believe that homework was just repetition of information. The 1950’s started rolling around and people started to think that homework would “speed up learning.” During the 1960’s parents became concerned that homework was putting a cramp on  their children's social lives which meant homework was put to a hault. Finally, this is where it all came together. This is where the homework trend had its takeoff. The 1980’s brought a higher standard of education. Homework was a way to “stem a rising tide of mediocrity in American education.” As you can see, homework has fluctuated throughout the years. It just so happens that my generation is being strangled by it. Hopefully in years to come, homework will simmer down because teachers, parents, doctors and psychologists will realize the massive, negative impact it puts on developing brains.
  I am not so sure teachers understand the impact that homework has on their students. Homework overload leads to students feeling stressed, frustrated, disillusioned and ultimately leads to students losing motivation to want to learn. We are taught for almost eight hours a day, five days a week. As is, most of the student body does not get the required eight hours of sleep recommended. The last six hours of the day should target staying active and spending quality time with our family and peers; not towards homework.

  If the majority of our day is consumed by school, where does that leave us when we get home? It leaves the student body in a stressed and frantic state. By the end of the day, we are mentally spent. If homework is going to be given, it should be for the sole purpose of studying for tests or completing projects that need creativity. You cannot have a creative mind if it is bogged down with homework. Is anybody listening? Play is a serious subject for developing creative minds
  Some of our world’s greatest advocates of creativity and knowledge are preaching to us that we need time to develop creative minds. Sheryl Sandberg, an American business woman and the COO of Facebook is preaching to the world in hopes that women will step up and use their creativity to sit in the front of the meeting rooms, take charge and run businesses! Another example of a creativity activist would be Sir Ken Robinson. He has redesigned school systems in Great Britain. Mr. Robinson wants to “cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence. “Play” is a serious subject when developing creative minds. If we have no time to play, how will we form passion for something? Now, I am not saying that we are going to have millions of Sheryl Sandberg’s or Sir Ken Robinson’s running around but I, along with many other distinguished educationists and public intellectuals are saying that we need to rethink our education programs and shape them into more realistic programs. If we try to change this now, I foresee a better schooling system for the future generations to come.

1 comment:

  1. In the third paragraph the writer states,"homework overload leads to students stressed, frustrated, disillusioned and ultimately leads to students losing motivation to want to learn." This reminds of school districts and schools where the emphasis is not on learning, but on teaching to the test- teaching and reviewing and doing more reviewing for ONLY those items that will asked about on standardized tests in the hope that the kids score high.