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Thread: Throw out homework, let kids read comics - principal

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    Default Throw out homework, let kids read comics - principal

    Throw out homework, let kids read comics - principal
    By NATHAN BEAUMONT - The Dominion Post
    Last updated 05:00 15/02/2010

    Wellington schools are scrapping traditional homework methods, instead telling pupils to read comics and the backs of cereal packets to improve reading skills.

    They also suggest pupils improve their spelling by doing crosswords and playing board games but warn that parents should not rely solely on school lessons to improve the children's achievement in maths.

    The move has been backed by education expert Professor John Hattie, who says he has found "zero evidence" that homework helps to improve time management or study skills.

    In a letter to parents, Karori Normal School principal Diane Leggett pointed to research that suggested homework had no positive impact. "In fact, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest the opposite."

    From this year the school had stopped providing homework sheets for pupils. Instead the school encouraged parents to be more involved with their child's learning.

    "Encourage your child's imagination and creativity you will do more than any homework or extra-tuition programme ever could. Turn off the TV/games console during the week. Let them play. Talk with them. Share with them.

    "It doesn't matter what your child reads as long as they get a balance of reading to you, reading with you and reading for themselves. Books, magazines, comics, newspapers, model aeroplane instructions, the back of the Weet-Bix packet ... whatever, it doesn't matter. As long as your child is doing something that they are interested in, they will read it, enjoy it and be all the happier and better off for it."

    They could also improve spelling by doing crosswords and word puzzles or playing board games like Scrabble.

    Mrs Leggett warned that if pupils were struggling with maths, parents could not rely solely on school lessons to improve a child's achievement.

    She told The Dominion Post yesterday that feedback from parents had been "very positive". "In fact, we have had no negative feedback at all. We feel that there is no point in giving children homework just for the sake of it. Learning should be fun and that's what we will be focusing on."

    She was aware of similar moves at Ngaio and Seatoun schools.

    Professor Hattie, from Auckland University, said homework worked for some pupils but for most it was a waste of time. If schools did give homework, he recommended no longer than five minutes a night.

    "I applaud schools for taking this approach and I hope others follow what they have done. It's far more important to have interaction with parents, rather than spending hours on some project."

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    Mother Bear

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    More schools rethink homework
    By NATHAN BEAUMONT - The Dominion Post
    Last updated 05:00 16/02/2010

    Hundreds of primary schools could soon follow the lead of their Wellington counterparts and make radical changes to traditional homework methods.

    Karori Normal School has told parents that pupils should read comics and the backs of cereal packets to improve reading skills. They also suggest pupils improve their spelling by doing crosswords and playing board games. The school argues that homework has no positive impact.

    The move has been backed by education expert John Hattie, who says he has found "zero evidence" that homework helps to improve time management or study skills.

    Principals Federation president Ernie Buutveld said he knew of schools that were considering similar moves.

    "In fact a lot of schools already have. It's about making learning more fun. A lot of kids hear the word `homework' and turn off straight away. Homework often has negative connotations.

    "But by making learning fun you will be surprised at the number of kids who all of a sudden have a lot more interest."

    Seatoun School has changed homework rules, hoping it would prompt families to spend more time together. Principal Pete Pointon said it was also important for pupils to have down time after school.

    Instead of traditional homework, pupils were given challenges, including tidying their bedrooms for a school term and planning and making a meal for their parents.

    "If they are doing this stuff at home ... because they are excited about it and want to do it rather than filling in some silly sheet or doing something they can't see any relationship to what's going on in their lives, I think it's fantastic. They are switched on to learning and can see learning in a whole different context."

    The school still had some homework that needed to be done each night reading and spelling for about 10 minutes.

    The Education Ministry said homework could be effective, but "should not be excessive and should not unnecessarily fatigue and frustrate students". The ministry encouraged parents to talk to their child's teacher about homework methods.No homework but parents still have job.

    From here.
    Mother Bear

    Try to bloom wherever you are planted.

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