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Homework encourages competition, and parents will pay to get the edge with private tutors. Homework is about memorization not education, and there is a case to be made that if you were able to do the homework it never needed to be done, whereas if you weren’t able to do it, you haven’t learnt anything so the whole exercise was pointless.Here are a few such examples of pointless homework.
The prevalence of this practice is confirmed by data, which shows that the amount of homework set by teachers is relative to their level of experience.
Indeed, as revealed in a 2007 Met Life study into US schools, only fourteen percent of teachers with over 21 years experience assign more than an hour’s homework a night compared to 14 percent of teachers with between zero and five years experience.
Indeed, I look back with fondness on friends whose constant failure to even attempt the set homework was matched only by the constantly poor excuses they offered to the teacher: ‘some homeless guy on the bus’ (who presumably had a profound interest in long-shore drift) ‘stole it’ remains my personal favorite.
As a teacher my relationship with homework has taken on a new dynamic.
Mine tend to consist of horrendously early mornings spent either trying to disentangle apparently impossible mathematical equations, or frantically scribbling a series of unsubstantiated (though passably well-articulated) ideas and interpretations for a humanities assignment.
On a particularly bad morning, I’d have to do both.
Homework is one of unique evils that all of us can relate to.
Whether it plagued our evenings or weekends – or, for those unfortunate enough to be homeschooled, every waking hour, – for each of us homework evokes an individualized and vivid set of memories.
In a recent tutorial, a 16 year-old Italian student of mine had to write a two-page critique in English of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s – a poem so archaic that even I as a mother-tongue English speaker struggle in parts.
I’m not for one moment questioning the value of studying literature, but writing an essay on Romantic English literature when your spoken English is too elementary to accurately verbally communicate seems like a waste of time. In another tutorial, a student’s homework was to translate a page of dense grammatical explanations (meant for advanced adults) about the third-conditional into Italian; an exercise that astounded me not only because of the dastardly difficulty and pointlessness of the task, but also because my students English-comprehension was so low that it soon became apparent that the nervous boy sitting before me had absolutely no idea what he was reading.