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From homework... BY STEPHEN DARE, HEAD OF SCHOOL


Over the last 25 years as an educator I have seen many changes that have had a significant impact on the way we look at instructional practices. As we learn more about more effective ways to educate children, we still find it difficult to move beyond our own experiences in school even if they are no longer considered best practice for developing 21st century learners. I was reminded of this at the recent Grade 6 community evening as we began a discussion about homework and transitioned into thinking about the possibilities of the potential value of shiſting our mindsets to identifying opportunities for home learning.


Whenever I ask a room full of parents if their children get too much, too little or about the right amount of homework, I am greeted with hands raised for all three options. For individual teachers or an entire school, trying to please everyone is difficult. Too much homework and schools will be told that it is causing great distress at home as parents attempt to rescue their anxious children from the horrors of not getting everything finished. Too


little and the school is no longer considered rigorous and is seen as not preparing students for the demands of the real world — and how on earth will they ever get to Harvard? When schools don’t give enough homework, it raises questions about teacher competency and a school’s competitive edge. But here is our concern: when parents advocate for more and more homework, are we sending the message that we don’t trust our children to make decisions for themselves and no longer value the art of discovering new interests or pursuing simple hobbies?


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