history of homework
X330 Academic studies in Secondary Education
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AbstractThe research on homework since the 19th century in the United Kingdom (UK) shows that there are considerable issues to be addressed in this area. Governments have discussed it and the media have reported on it and it is still a contentious issue for schools and homes alike. This study shows that there has been very little change in the issues surrounding homework for over a hundred years and that no political party in office will take a stand on it. Even though schools would like to see a change in policy it is not on the government agenda. The study worked with six secondary schools in one town over a fixed time period to collect information to discuss some of those questions being asked around the issues related to homework. The literature review looked at documents dating back to 1880 when similar questions were being asked about the relevance of "keeping in" and in 1881 "home lessons" was a newspaper article. A teacher training manual in 1885 contained a chapter on home lessons and those advantages and disadvantages described in the book are very similar to the advantages and disadvantages described in 2004. Hansard recorded discussions in parliament from 1884 about the overpressure put on pupils. Home conditions and the support given by parents in completing homework have been discussed both in the media and in parliament. Comparisons are made between homework in the UK and other similar countries using internationally collected data. The mixed method research included questioning students, families, teachers and governors. Interviews were conducted with senior teachers at the schools, with responsibility for implementing the homework policy. School documents were scrutinised including the home-school agreement, homework policies and homework guidelines for students, families and teachers. The findings of this study showed that there are differences between the main stakeholders, students, families, teachers and governors, in the knowledge, views and opinions of homework. Students, families, teachers and governors differed in their opinions, with many students and families, although seeing some benefits, opposing the setting of homework due to the impact on family time and the stress caused by it. While teachers and governors supported the setting of homework and the important contribution it made in school. There are differences between different types of schools and those with lower and higher ability students and the influence that homework has on the stress levels of those students in higher performing schools. Homework is seen as a marketing tool for some schools to use in selling themselves on the competing educational market place. The findings of this study continue to ask the questions related to homework and in particular What is the purpose of homework?, What type of homework is seen as most effective in supporting students' learning in the various areas of the curriculum?, Does the home environment always support students completing homework and what kind of resources do students need to complete homework and do they have access to these resources at home? and What political, economic, social and educational factors (Hallam, 2004) are important in understanding the context in which homework policies and practices are developed?
CitationEdwards, W. (2017) ‘What is the point of homework and should schools set it?’. EdD thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted to the University of Bedfordshire in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education
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