‘No homework for classes 1 and 2, no subject-division till class 5 and the weight of school bags for every class should not exceed the prescribed limit.’
The HRD Ministry issued these directives on November 26, 2018, much to the respite of young shoulders burdened under the weight of a pile of books and lengthy at-home assignments. While the move comes in the wake of students burdened with extensive homework, this shift in the education space was a much needed one. However, despite all government efforts, most schools continue to practice old methods of education, which is a concern.
With the cut-throat competition putting students to test almost every day, homework adds to the stress with it being a nightmare for parents as well. Lengthy homework takes academics beyond the confines of the classroom, making it more of a punishment than a learning opportunity.
Homework is important !
Homework has been an integral part of the education system in India. It is believed that homework helps students build study skills and remember concepts more vividly. These assignments reinforce and level-up the subjects learnt in school and help students develop crucial skills such as time management and problem-solving.
How much is too much ?
Interesting and innovative projects elicit creative skills and academic growth in students. However, loads of it result in hour-long exercises both for the child and parent, leading to anxiety and unwanted pressure.
According to the National Education Association, students in primary grades should indulge in about 10 minutes of homework per night and an additional 10 minutes per grade, thereafter. Quite contrary to this, most Indian households have students brood over homework for hours. Most often it’s the parents who toil along with them, leaving negligible or no room for analytical or creative thinking. The atrocities of at-home assignments are far more than we ever thought, primary being the lack of time to understand concepts in detail or develop a new skill. Mostly, homework becomes a part of regular mundane life, which kids want to finish off in a rush so as to attend to other social skills they love. This apart, elaborate assignments have kids work into the night to complete them, robbing them off their sleep. This reduces their productivity, lowering their cognitive abilities.
The right approach !
It’s time schools understood the main purpose of homework is to ensure children revised the concepts learnt and deepened their understanding of the subjects. Assignments shared must delve into the details of a subject than for a focused learning experience. Also, an appropriate and timely feedback would help teachers understand the challenges faced by students in their understanding of a subject and also help them emphasize the weaker parts.
Involvement of parents in completion of homework must be negligible. While their assistance would be important but too much of an indulgent would dilute the whole purpose. Instead, focus on teaching them organize their tasks and manage time to enhance learning skills.
Subjects such as Science, Humanities, Social Sciences, Art, Literature, Poetry and Music should come together as unified units and be taught with the help of class activities, stories and practical experiences. Let at-home assignments be an add-on to learning than a mundane job.