Homework is an unpleasant word. We all don’t like to hear it.
Students hate it even more.
And the question of what value, homework really adds to the student has been the source of much debate over the years.
A Task With Much Gain
The truth is the benefits of assignments are multifarious. We usually do not see them because we often look out only for improvements in academic performance.
That is our yardstick for evaluating the benefit of homework. But that is just one out of a number of things to look out for.
And just like many other tasks, homework provides the student the opportunity to gain so much, if only he is willing.
Looking at the Larger Picture
Homework may not often yield immediate results in academic scores – especially, when it is used as part of the grading.
For instance, if a pupil does badly in an assignment that will be used as part of his total assessment, the implication is lower scores for the poor kid.
But, if he goes back to figure out his errors, it will pay off later. Some professors repeat homework questions in the main exams and by then he would be able to ace it.
In instances where it isn’t repeated, the student could still go on to have a good grasp of the topic the homework covers and that may just prove the difference for him, at a time when he least expects.
Let’s dig further and see the benefits of homework that everyone seldom talk about.
#1. A Source of Personal Academic Progress
When students are given homework, it helps them to learn the practice of independent study. Meanwhile, for subjects like mathematics, foreign languages and music where extra practice is needed to attain mastery, homework presents an opportunity for practice that cannot be scoffed at.
Furthermore, students get to make fascinating discoveries as they do homework. It could be alternative methods to confront a task. It could be the unravelling of answers to lingering personal questions on certain areas of study.
The best part of this is that, knowledge and information obtained through personal discoveries dwell longer with the individual.
#2. A Means to Building Life Skills
Assignments contribute to the overall development of the child by helping to build necessary life skills.
Self-regulation values like proper time management; discipline, persistence, goal setting and good planning are what pupils quietly cultivate when they faithfully undertake assignments.
These make up a formidable foundation for the demands of higher education and later life.
#3. A Route to Learning Work Ethics
Through homework, students can learn and imbibe good work ethics like ability to manage distractions, overcome unwanted emotions, motivate oneself and meet deadlines.
By cultivating the habit of completing assignments that are given to them, they are unknowingly preparing themselves for the corporate world where they could be instructed to attend to less-fancied tasks that must nonetheless be completed.
#4. A Tool for Building Balanced Kids
By contributing to both the academic and non-academic aspects of a students’ education, assignments enhance holistic training and evolution.
And since the core ideal of formal education is to unearth individuals who are balanced in capacity for life endeavours, homework would remain a necessary tool towards achieving such.
The Need for a Positive Mindset
To harness all these benefits and more, it is important to first have a change of orientation. It all starts with a proper perspective.
Instead of being overly concerned about the extra burden it brings along, students and their parents must see homework as a tool that possesses the potential to drill correct values into one and enhance learning.
While helping their wards where necessary, parents should also make them realize how assignments can help them build character, if they always put their mind to it.
The Need for a Proper Approach
To make all these work out easily, it is also important that the right approach is used.
For tutors, the motive of giving assignments as learning and training aides must be clear. They must be designed such that they can build cognitive capacity, thought process and practical skills. It must not become an avenue for making up for the teacher’s deficiencies or for achieving personal interests or any other ulterior motive.
Homework must be given in moderation so as not to overburden the student and deprive them of some family life, exercise, play time and sleep which are equally essential for intellectual growth.
Factors like age, grade level and family peculiarities are important factors to consider in giving assignments. Where possible, homework should be tailored to meet specific needs of the students – It is in personalizing homework that it is most effective.
For parents, developing a relationship with the teacher through which monitoring and evaluation of the ward’s response to homework can be discussed will always be a smart move. After all, homework somehow draws the parent’s attention to what’s going on in school, from where they can make expedient input.
Putting it All Together
It is general knowledge that when the value or purpose of a thing is unknown or misunderstood, abuse is inevitable. So what is needed is to correctly define and utilize the concept of homework.
No doubt, when students, teachers and parents have the proper understanding of the essence of assignments and the right approach is employed, results will be undeniable.
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Ogaga Eruteya is a Nigerian Christian minister, writer and speaker. He writes on Faith, Personal Development, Youth Development, and Life Realities. With his words, he seeks to inspire, motivate, propagate life’s truths and represent a sincere Christian voice. Learn more about Ogaga here.