Is extra work at home worth it?Decades of global research, shows that homework in primary schools is unnecessary and unproductive.
Johannesburg - Before the teachers at De La Salle Holy Cross College Junior School assign homework, headmaster Neil Berndsen asks them to consider one key question: Is the extra work at home worth eating into the already limited time the school’s young pupils have at home?
“If they feel it is worth it, then they must go for it,” he says. “But they mustn’t just give homework for the sake of it.”
There are other “golden rules” for the teachers at the Catholic primary school in Victory Park, north of Joburg. Homework can only be assigned on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays - Wednesdays are strictly family nights. And it mustn’t exceed 15 minutes for young children and 30 minutes for children in the higher grades.
Homework must incorporate sufficient reading, skills-based exercises and activities, as opposed to content-driven tasks.
Berndsen is part of a small but growing movement of educators in South Africa who are redefining their approach to homework - or scrapping it.