What would your perfect school or classroom look like? What are some of the age-old practices that you would revise or do away with?  I am struck by the fact that despite overwhelming research that the elimination of certain practices would benefit students, we continue on with these “traditional” approaches. Maybe it’s just easier to maintain the status quo rather than spend the time and energy discussing changes to the way we have always done things.  The main question for me is what do we have to lose? Or even better, what could we gain?

The first topic I would like to look at is homework. With close to 20 years of data telling us that there are no academic benefits to giving elementary students homework, there is no groundbreaking information here. A few articles over the last weeks have brought this topic back up in many school communities.

One of the pieces, Homework is wrecking our kids: The research is clear, let’s ban elementary homework by Heather Shumaker, first appeared in Salon earlier in March. The article references the efforts of Duke University Researcher Harris Cooper to go back through over 100 studies on the impact of homework that were conducted from the late 1980’s until 2006.

While the results of the research showed no impact on academic performance at the elementary level, the studies did find one area that homework impacted students in a significant way.  Unfortunately this is a reference to the negative impact that homework had on the attitude of students toward school.  Shumaker offers clear direction to school communities as to where we should focus our attention to best support the growth of the whole child.

“Non-academic priorities (good sleep, family relationships and active playtime) are vital for balance and well-being. They also directly impact a child’s memory, focus, behavior and learning potential. Elementary lessons are reinforced every day in school. After-school time is precious for the rest of the child.”

Sourced through Scoop.it from: blogs.edweek.org

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