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Doing Homework is Unproductive

On 24, Sep 2013 | No Comments | In Education | By Daniel Kao

Productive (adj) – having the power of producing; generative; creative: a productive effort.

Homework is something that has been done for generations. It is something given by teachers for students to do in order to solidify the concepts and skills learned in the classroom. Performance on homework has always been used as a standard across entire classes in order to compare people.

The goal of homework is from what I’ve gathered, twofold. One characteristic is to obtain practice and the other seems to be research.

The goal of practice is most evident in math, where homework is done to reinforce concepts and methods into a student. Practice is about doing things over and over until it becomes easy or natural.

The goal of research is about obtaining knowledge, and outputting it in some form, whether it be analysis or presentation. Research usually includes putting information into your own words, indicating that you understand the information.

These are all practical, beneficial learning goals, but the way that it is presented in homework is often very bland and unattractive, often leading to the exact opposite effect.

Homework that is done by an individual is usually one in thousands. All of their classmates have done the exact homework, and students for years beforehand have probably done the exact same homework assignment.

Homework isn’t generally a thing that is framed and cherished after it is returned. Homework is usually thrown away after it is finished, because there no longer is value in keeping it.

We’re stuck in a system of education that makes students perform among one standard. But no one in the workforce does this. Companies don’t do the exact same thing as other companies, and neither do employees do the same thing as each other.

So in the truest sense of the word, most homework assignments within the current education system don’t allow students to be productive, because students are spending their time doing the exact same thing as each other.

I would like to propose that if we allowed students to work on projects that carried significance in the world, giving them the freedom to be creative, then they would no longer be bored, uninterested, and disengaged in school.

If we allowed students to learn by solving problems that don’t yet have solutions in the world, we are unleashing them to truly learn and innovate for the future. Then the teachers job is not to be the one that lectures and grades, but the one who facilitates and asks questions.

Learning by doing homework is great, but learning by changing the world is greater.

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