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A Question about Homework
Judi Fenton

I recently received an e-mail from a tenth grader who needed assistance with an essay assignment. I thought it would be interesting to share our correspondence.

-----Original Message-----
From: tony r.
To: judifenton@aol.com
Sent: Tue, 6 Jan 2009 9:53 pm
Subject: Homework Essay

Hello Ms. Fenton,

My name is Anthony and I am in grade 10. I recently read your article about homework. I am doing research for a controversial essay I am writing at school and I was wondering if you had any information you could send me to help with my research. My main subject is the advantages and disadvantages of homework. I would appreciate any help you can give me.

Sincerely,
Anthony R.

My response:

Hi Anthony,

It's great that you are researching homework--I think that many of us just accept that it's a fact of life that all students have to deal with. I'm sending a bunch of links for you--you may have already found some of them.

There's recently been a lot of anti-homework sentiment and several books have been published. The first is by Alfie Kohn called The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing.

Here's a link to an article by him that summarizes many of his key points:
http://teachers.net/gazette/FEB08/kohn/

Another book that came out around the same time is by Bennett, Sara and Nancy Kalish, The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It.

Here's an article from The New York Times citing Nancy Kalish about homework policy in NYC.
http://nancykalish.com/work5.htm

Here's Sara Bennet's blog:
http://stophomework.com/the-case-against-homework

Here's a piece on the pros of homework. Harris Cooper is cited in this and he is a big homework researcher:
http://lrs.ed.uiuc.edu/students/plato1/constructhome/page4.html

Here's a good piece by Harris Cooper:
http://cehd.umn.edu/CAREI/Reports/Rpractice/Summer94/homework.html

And the Center for Public Education has some good info too.

I hope these help you with you work. Let me know if you have any questions, or need any more resources. I'd love to read your essay when you're done!

Judi Fenton

Do you have a comment or question about this article? E-mail Judi.

 

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