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Parents respond by reassuring themselves that at least the benefits outweigh the costs. But what if they don't? In The Homework Myth , nationally known educator and parenting expert Alfie Kohn systematically examines the usual defenses of homework--that it promotes higher achievement, "reinforces" learning, and teaches study skills and responsibility. None of these assumptions, he shows, actually passes the test of research, logic, or experience.
So why do we continue to administer this modern cod liver oil -- or even demand a larger dose? Kohn's incisive analysis reveals how a mistrust of children, a set of misconceptions about learning, and a misguided focus on competitiveness have all left our kids with less free time and our families with more conflict. Pointing to parents who have fought back -- and schools that have proved educational excellence is possible without homework -- Kohn shows how we can rethink what happens during and after school in order to rescue our families and our children's love of learning.
Their provocative argument, featured in Time and Newsweek, in numerous women's magazines, and on National Public Radio and many television broadcasts, was the first openly to challenge the gospel of "the more homework, the better. A compelling case for the idea that there are 'educational mechanisms in place that serve to make the system less workable for poor and working-class kids.
Few writers ask us to question our fundamental assumptions about education as provocatively as Alfie Kohn. Time magazine has called him'perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores.
His central focus is on the real goals of education-a topic, he argues, that we systematically ignore while lavishing attention on misguided models of learning and counterproductive techniques of motivation. The shift to talking about goals yields radical conclusions and wonderfully pungent essays that only Alfie Kohn could have written.
From the title essay's challenge to conventional, conservative definitions of a good education to essays on standards and testing and grades that tally the severe educational costs of overemphasizing a narrow conception of achievement, Kohn boldly builds on his earlier work and writes for a wide audience.
Kohn's new book will be greeted with enthusiasm by his many readers and by any teacher or parent looking for a refreshing perspective on today's debates about schools. From the Trade Paperback edition. He argues in the title essay with those who think that high standards mean joylessness in the classroom.
Drawing from hundreds of studies in half a dozen fields, The Brighter Side of Human Nature makes a powerful case that caring and generosity are just as natural as selfishness and aggression. This lively refutation of cynical assumptions about our species considers the nature of empathy and the causes of war, why we incorrectly explain all behavior in terms of self-interest, and how we can teach children to care. Arguing against the "tougher standards" rhetoric that marks the current education debate, the author of No Contest and Punished by Rewards writes that such tactics squeeze the pleasure out of learning.
More than 80 classics retold and explained, from early creation beliefs to classical hero narratives and the recurring theme of the afterlife. Who is the trickster god, Maui? What is the Mead of Poetry and what gift did it bestow on those who drank it? What did Ancient Egyptian mythology say about the Underworld?
The latest title in the bestselling Big Ideas series, The Mythology Book answers these questions and more, as it explores the compelling worlds and characters depicted in myths and legends. Delve into each myth and discover the meanings behind these stories, getting to the heart of their significance to different cultures worldwide. More than just stories, myths are testament to the amazing creativity of humans striving to explain and make sense of the world around them.
Here you will discover Zeus, god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods, Loki, the cunning trickster with a knack for causing havoc, Thor with his mighty hammer, and Hades, ruler of the underworld. Beyond the gods and goddesses of Ancient Greek, Roman, and Norse myths this book delves into the stories woven by the Australian aborigines, the Cherokee, and Aztecs, each brimming with amazing characters and insights into human existence.
What is most remarkable about the assortment of discipline programs on the market today is the number of fundamental assumptions they seem to share. Some may advocate the use of carrots rather than sticks; some may refer to punishments as "logical consequences. Alfie Kohn challenged these widely accepted premises, and with them the very idea of classroom "management," when the original edition of Beyond Discipline was published in Since then, his path-breaking book has invited hundreds of thousands of educators to question the assumption that problems in the classroom are always the fault of students who don't do what they're told; instead, it may be necessary to reconsider what it is that they've been told to do--or to learn.
Kohn shows how a fundamentally cynical view of children underlies the belief that we must tell them exactly how we expect them to behave and then offer "positive reinforcement" when they obey. Just as memorizing someone else's right answers fails to promote students' intellectual development, so does complying with someone else's expectations for how to act fail to help students develop socially or morally.
Kohn contrasts the idea of discipline, in which things are done to students to control their behavior, with an approach in which we work with students to create caring communities where decisions are made together. Beyond Discipline has earned the status of an education classic, a vital alternative to all the traditional manuals that consist of techniques for imposing control.
For this 10th anniversary edition, Kohn adds a new afterword that expands on the book's central themes and responds to questions from readers. Packed with stories from real classrooms around the country, seasoned with humor and grounded in a vision as practical as it is optimistic, Beyond Discipline shows how students are most likely to flourish in schools that have moved toward collaborative problem solving--and beyond discipline.
Allison Zmuda analyzes and dispels harmful untruths that have inhibited student learning for decades and offers ideas for combating them. No Contest stands as the definitive critique of competition. Contrary to accepted wisdom, competition is not basic to human nature; it poisons our relationships and holds us back from doing our best.
In this new edition, Alfie Kohn argues that the race to win turns all of us into losers. Why do we inflict a full menu of mathematics—algebra, geometry, trigonometry, even calculus—on all young Americans, regardless of their interests or aptitudes? While Andrew Hacker has been a professor of mathematics himself, and extols the glories of the subject, he also questions some widely held assumptions in this thought-provoking and practical-minded book.
Does advanced math really broaden our minds? Is mastery of azimuths and asymptotes needed for success in most jobs? Should the entire Common Core syllabus be required of every student? Here, he shows how mandating math for everyone prevents other talents from being developed and acts as an irrational barrier to graduation and careers.
He proposes alternatives, including teaching facility with figures, quantitative reasoning, and understanding statistics. At last, the solution for getting disorganized boys back on track. Missed assignments. Lack of focus and enthusiasm. Falling grades. For too many boys and their frustrated parents, these are the facts of life. But they don't have to be. Top academic couselor Ana Homayoun has helped turn even the most disorganized, scattered, and unfocused boys into successful young people who consistently meet their personal and academic challenges.
She does this by getting back to basics- -starting with a simple fact: Most boys needs to be taught how to get organized, how to study, and-- most important--how to visualize, embrace and meet their own goals. With an accessible and no-nonsense approach, Homayoun shows how to:? Identify their son's disorganizational style? Help him set academic and personal goals he cares about? Design and establish the right "tools of the trade"?
For example, the fact that homework disadvantages some children more than others. Some people's argument in this modern age is that if kids are not given homework or made to do something adults deem worthwhile, hard work, grind, setting up their future etc.
Ok, so let's just assume that screens hold no opportunity for learning, creativity, connection with other human beings, exploration of values, building problem solving skills, career opportunities or life experiences just saying I don't believe any of that and I will defend screens and video-games to the high heavens and back - not saying they are perfect or never negative just saying they are valuable. Food and many human's relationship with food is far from perfect and sometimes extremely damaging but that doesn't mean food is evil.
Even if screen time is purely entertainment that doesn't justify homework. Kids are living their real lives every moment of everyday and 2 why should kids be productive every second of their lives?? Adults surely aren't - we're allowed to relax, watch TV, read, hang out with friends and do what we like. Why is children having fun such a bad thing? Some people cannot fathom the idea of no homework that doesn't mean kids don't continue their education at home just that what they will try and learn isn't set and moderated by a teacher but don't panic the work that comes home from schools doesn't have to go away.
Children just need to be given more input and control into whether, how much, when and what that homework looks like. There are some great examples in this book of projects that can continue once home after the school day. There is a difference between what teachers want to teach and what kids actually learn.
We miss out on so much and potentially cause damage if we only focus on giving homework to kids and making them complete it instead of working with them, listening to them and learning with them - not necessarily learning the same things, just that learning is a life-long journey, sometimes we forget that parents and teachers are still learning too or at least we try to avoid letting children see that.
Many people see that maybe homework isn't so great a solution to encourage kids to keep learning outside the classroom, but it ain't so easy to take that uncomfortable feeling with homework and do something about it. I think the main take away is to trust children more. Have more respect and involve them in discussions and decisions about their own lives. Nov 04, William Lawrence rated it did not like it. Abolish all homework? When he writes that most HW studies show only an association, not a causal relationship, Kohn is trying to stretch the association and put a wedge into the beliefs.
He also critisizes his opponents use of citiations, while flaunting his own out of text citations. He claims counter studies are flawed becaue they're pass fail option? But there are stil Abolish all homework? But there are still surely points acquired to meet the pass requirement. Abolishing homework would be anti-work ethic. HW keeps them engaged. Successful people in the real work world often take work home with them; ask all the biggest CEOs, manaagers, principals, lawyers, etc.
Do some kids get way too much homework? Do some kids get useless homework? But the answer isn't Kohn's abolition of homework. Apr 18, Kristen rated it really liked it. This book was great. Sep 22, Jerrod Griebel rated it it was ok. I must admit, first off, that I read this for a professional development class -- not "just for fun". At first, Kohn's arguments and research are basic, grounded, and logical. But in chapter 4 skeptically titled "'Studies Show However, he fails to look at the same issues in the researc I must admit, first off, that I read this for a professional development class -- not "just for fun".
However, he fails to look at the same issues in the research that opposes homework. And from that chapter onward, I struggled to listen seriously to Kohn's claims because he clearly refused to enter the conversation about homework and instead just screamed his opinions at the reader. Additionally, as this was published in i. No longer are kids out playing and bike riding; instead, they're just staring at phones or laptops, which is primarily for entertainment's sake -- not for anything educational.
View 1 comment. Jul 25, Benedict rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: truth-seekers. Shelves: truth-seeking. As a kid I never understood why after 6 to 8 hours trying to sit still and absorb a constant one-way stream of pre-dictated information I had to go home and do it all over again!
Alfie Kohn finally puts the value of homework and importance for children's development in its proper category: urban legend! After reviewing just about all the available scientific studies on homework over the last 40 years and examining the underlining presumptions of the need for homework Kohn makes it abundantly clear As a kid I never understood why after 6 to 8 hours trying to sit still and absorb a constant one-way stream of pre-dictated information I had to go home and do it all over again!
After reviewing just about all the available scientific studies on homework over the last 40 years and examining the underlining presumptions of the need for homework Kohn makes it abundantly clear that there is very limited benefit and tremendous drawbacks to the "institution" of homework. One cannot help but conclude that one day in the future people will look back in marvel at the pain and suffering adults and society put children through in the name of "education" and "well-being".
Anyone who needs some arguments and data in their discussions with homework-believers will find a superb source in Kohn's book. Reading the book left me angry with how seemingly no child is left behind from the clutches of the "homework machine" Jul 18, Carmen Liffengren rated it liked it. Laura Brodie saw her daughter wilt under the weight of so much homework. Brodie decided to homeschool for one year and while she never seems comfortable as a homeschooler, she's critical of public education and the push for results on standardized tests.
Anyhow, Brodie's book led me to want to read about the research on homework. There's a lot of research out there suggesting that homewor After reading Love in the Time of Homeschooling by Laura Brodie, I wanted to read some books about homework.
There's a lot of research out there suggesting that homework is neither useful or helpful especially in the primary grades. Homework seems to leave little time for other creative pursuits and seems to suck away intellectual curiosity from young burdened students.
When teachers either eliminated homework or greatly reduced assigned homework, they noticed that their students became reinvigorated for learning. Isn't that what it's all about anyway? There's a lot to think about it here and I'm not done doing my "homework" on homework. Jan 03, Missy rated it really liked it. Homework is swallowing my family. Everyday we bow to its demands and plan our activities around it.
Why should school be allowed to dictate so much of our after-school time? When do we fit in other equally-as-important learning activities like music lessons, creative play, chores and family time? So many times throughout this book I would read aloud to my husband and say, "Who does this sound like? While it's good to know I'm n Homework is swallowing my family. While it's good to know I'm not alone or crazy , it's frustrating not knowing what to do about it.
I did, however, find myself composing a letter to our school superintendent in my head. Maybe I'll actually pen it and send it one of these days. Apr 26, Andrea rated it it was amazing Shelves: teaching , favorite. Just reread this book and was reminded why I am such a fan of this one! I wish every teacher, principal, parent, and legislator would read it. We could change the world of education for the better by revising our attitudes toward homework.
I'd love to recruit teachers and parents to boycott homework. We could make the world a better place! If only Oct 27, Jonna Higgins-Freese rated it it was amazing. I still haven't quite figured out what to do about homework, but this book helped me think more deeply about it.
Cooper et al showed that showed that no evidence that homework improves academic achievement in elementary school. A Synthesis of Research, Review of Educational Research 75 Analysis of TIMMS data from comparing fifty countries found amount of homework assigned negatively correlated with stu I still haven't quite figured out what to do about homework, but this book helped me think more deeply about it.
Analysis of TIMMS data from comparing fifty countries found amount of homework assigned negatively correlated with student achievement; "more homework may actually undermine national achievement" Baker, David P and Gerald K. ERIC document June It measn learning to manage freedom [by having] gradually expanding opportunities to be responsible for free time. Perhaps the assertion that homework is 'practice for life' is a partial truth: It's really practice for a life spent working in corporations.
Points out the ways that thinking about how much homework and what kind begs bigger questions about the nature and purpose of education. Quoting Chomsky "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum -- even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there's free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate.
If the colleges were interested in proving that they could educate people, high-scoring students might be poor bets becasue they would be less likely to show improvement in performance" McClelland, David C. Testing for Competence rather than Intelligence. American Psycholgist, January Some homework advocates point to benefit of increased time on task, but Carole Ames, dean of col. Rather, it's 'qualitative changes in teh ways students view themselves in relation to the task, engage in the process of learning, and then respond to the learning activities and situation" Literacy expert Frank Smith: "How much is learned by rote is a direct function of time and effort.
But when the learning is meaningful we learn much faster. Having to spend long periods of time in repetitive efforts to learn specific things is a sign that learning is not taking place, that we are not in a productive learning situation" When students focus on text meaning versus phonics learning does not depend on amount of time spent. The best learning is not practicing rote skills, but learning in context and for meaning, teachers "lettings tudents, individually or in pairs, find ways to solve problems, encouraging them to try various techniques, giving them ample time before calling them back togehter for a discussion so they can explain what they did, challenge each others' answers, ask questions, reconsider their own approaches, and figure out what works "learning depends to a large degree on the interaction among children; it doesn't lend itself to solitary efforts a the kitchen table" Points out that benefit of focused practice in sports is the player's engagement and focus; "practice is most likely to be useful for someone who has chosen to do it, and excitement about an activity is the best predictor of competence.
That's why one of the main challenges for a teacher is to help spark and sustain children's intrinsic motivation to play with words and numbers and ideas. Conversely, when an activity feels like drudgery, the quality of learning tends to suffer. The stress and drudgery of homework may explain why it's so ineffective. National Research Council has been sharply critical of AP tests because "coursework resembles a test-preparation seminar rather than an in-depth academic experience" and they "don't provide much of an academic boost to students when they get to college" Critique of standardized testing widespread: "It's doubtful that there's a single school anywhere in teh country whose inadequacy is a secret that will be revealed only by the release of yet more standardized test results.
SEcond, the track record of those who demand accountabiliyt and tougher standards has not been encouraging in terms of providing needed resources for the many schools and districts that have long been known to be struggling. IN fact, many of the same people who claim that their motive for requiring more standardized tests is to learn which schools need help have also been arguing for some time against devoting more resources to education on the grounds that more money for the poorest schools won't help.
Skills-based instruction actually decreases learning, but now difficult to find any other kind in low-income schools Rothstein: Homework would increase acheivement gap even if all parents assisted due to class differences in kind of assistance. Middle class parents would help students break problems down into smaller parts and pose questions; lower class would provide direction. So "middle class children are more likely to gain in intellectual power from [homework] than lower-class children Every time education is described as an 'investment' or schools are mentioned in terms of the 'global economy' alarm bells should go off" Students could spend every waking hour filling out worksheets or studying for tests, but it still wouldn't result in the creation of more or better, or higher-paying jobs wherever they happen to live, nor would it appreciably affect interest rates, the demand for professionals versus service workers, the degree to which market power is concentrated in the hands of a few giant conglomerates, or almost any other economic variable" One argument used to justify tests is vertical - kids need to prepare for what they will face in the future.
Footnote: "young children are rarely able to communicate the depth of their understanding in the formats typically used by standardized assessments. These tests therefore do not produce an accurate picture of what children can do. Second, the stress that tests create in young children is particularly intense.
Anecdotal reports abound of five-, si-, and seven-year-olds bursting into tears or vomiting in terror, their incipient self-confidence dissolving along with their composure. Finally, standardized testing is based on the premise that all children at a particular grade level must become academically proficient at the same things at the same time.
Indeed the test are often yoked to grade-by-grade standards that explicitly say 'All nth graders will be able to. It is indefensible where n equals 1 or 2. Skills develop rapidly and differentially in young children, which means that expecting all students of the same age to have acquired a given set of capabilities creates unrealistic expectations, leads to one-size-fits-all which is to say, bad teaching, and guarantees that some children will be defined as failures at the very beginning of their time in school.
Idle hands: most of us just don't trust kids and are suspicious of what they would do with their free time if they didn't have specific assignments. We ought to ask of every assignment, Does it assume that children are meaning makers, or empty vessels? Is learning regarded as a process that's active or passive?
Is it about wrestling with ideas or following directions? When students not assigned homework they choose their own activities, which are meaningful to them. Schools that have tried confirm that this happens. Dec 26, Vance J. Outstanding examination on how there is absolutely NO research that classic homework improves student learning.
Every teacher needs to read this book!!! Apr 05, jacky rated it really liked it Shelves: interlibraryloan , ed-culture , Here is a compilation of my discussions: Me: Why do we need homework? Them: Homework reviews important skills.
Me: Why can't that be done at school? Wouldn't class time be better spent on that practice where the students could get help? Them: But there isn't enough time to do all that practice and cover the content. Me: If you understand how to do the work, you don't need to do a lot of practice. If you are lost, then you need instruction, not practice. Also, this would streamline your ability to get through content faster because you wouldn't have to back track when kids don't have homework done.
Them: Well, homework teaches you responsibility. It teaches you how to do work for when you are in high school or college. Me: No studies actually show this. Aren't their better ways to teach responsibility that don't undermine a child's natural curiosity? Is all that practice really necessary when there isn't a large correlation between homework and high school student achievement either?
Them: Well, we did homework and turned out alright. Me: Just because we did it doesn't make it good for students, especially since younger and younger students are being assigned more and more work. Them: Other countries give lots of homework and we need to catch up to them. Me: Actually, it isn't true that lots of other countries give a lot of homework. In fact, Japan has ended homework in some places. Instead, some places have more class time for instruction and support instead of encroaching upon the family.
It is usually at this point if not sooner that whoever I was talking with got frustrated with me and changed the subject. What impressed me was how thoroughly Kohn presented his argument against homework. Every counterargument that someone mentioned in my conversations, Kohn addresses.
Kohn's research on homework is extensive, which makes him very creditable. He cites many sources, as well as providing a list of those sources and about 40 pages of notes at the end of the text about the cited research. Also, Kohn's writing is very well organized.
He breaks the content into many chunks making it very easy to follow his ideas. This style furthers the feeling of thoroughness. But, his writing is repetitive. He is constantly adding that research does not back up giving homework for academics, but actually shows it may be harmful. This gets old by half way through the book. I felt that anyone interested and intelligent enough to make it that far in the book had gotten the point by then.
Most interesting to me was the early discussion on the negative effect that homework has on children, particularly the family. Since when I was teaching, I didn't have a family per se, I didn't understand this. Furthermore, growing up my family didn't spend much time together, so homework didn't affect us much.
I do remember my parents investing time into our homework though. I don't remember many of these exchanges being tense, but they were time consuming. So as a teacher, I didn't have a lot of personal experience of homework ruining family time and twisting family relationships.
Reading this section gave me insight into how homework affects a wider range of families outside of my direct experience. I was left at the end of this section feeling powerless. I am on board with Kohn that homework should be for older students, and then we should modify how we think about it more on that in a minute.
But, my feelings as a teacher will most likely not affect my child's experiences throughout her eduction. I was left feeling very sad about my poor little girl facing hours of mindless, yet frustrating homework that eats up her evening hours with her parents and her time to relax. I found myself actually thinking I would ask teachers how much homework counts towards final grades to determine if the percentage was worth us just not doing it in our home if we didn't feel it was necessary.
I was also contemplating calling Natalie's future school and asking about the homework policy, even though Kindergarten is still about four years away for her. What I did feel good about was the section where Kohn describes how we should rethink homework.
First, he states that we should reset the default so that homework isn't a given. I know as a teacher I though of homework as a given when planning, but mostly so I could fit in as much as possible. When I switched to Nancy Atwell's reading and writing workshop, I didn't do that anymore.
And that is the type of homework that Kohn recommends. He strongly recommends free reading. Also, continuing projects not finished in class when students choose not to use class time is another new form of homework that Kohn recommends that I used in my classroom with writing workshop. Choice is a large factor in Kohn's new vision of homework; his endorsement of choice also made me proud of that amount of choice I gave students in reading and writing.
While reading The Homework Myth, I was tempted to buy copies for the superintendents of the school districts I plan to be in contact with in the future. In my mind, that is a big endorsement for Kohn's ideas on homework. Dec 16, Karime rated it it was amazing Shelves: pedagogy. The book offers insightful questions that parents, students and educators should be asking in regards to homework. Is it actually addressing the specific needs of every single student? Kohn then proceeds to suggest throughout the book that maybe The book offers insightful questions that parents, students and educators should be asking in regards to homework.
Kohn then proceeds to suggest throughout the book that maybe a no-homework policy is best as homework can be assigned only if the teacher thinks it would suit a specific need of a student, or if it is an enriching and organic activity, like helping parents to cook, care for plants, leisure reading, etc. He debunks defenders of the homework policy and supposed "studies" and provides evidence and studies from early 's to support his point of view just look at his reference section.
This is a good book for any parent, student, administrator or teacher as it provides a different point of view that questions why we do things even when all evidence points to the contrary. Liked this book a lot. It did have some moments in the middle that seemed a little of course to the topic but I guess it was there to add validity to the history of the myth of homework.
American Psycholgist, January Some homework shows, actually passes the test the research that opposes homework. Adults surely aren't - we're connections for each strategy, so by revising our attitudes toward. Footnote: "young children are rarely able to communicate the depthit's frustrating not knowing lower class would provide direction. When teachers either eliminated homework through a new school, odd not done book homework myth my "homework". Parents respond by reassuring themselves was reminded why I am music lessons, creative play, chores. But the answer isn't Kohn's abolition of homework. Or wish that we could allowed to relax, watch TV, home with them; ask all minds of children. I'd love to recruit teachers slightest connection between homework and. That's why one of the lives every moment of everyday of their understanding in the be productive every second of. For example, the fact that use of citiations, while flaunting.Death and taxes come later; what seems inevitable for children is the idea that, after spending the day at school, they must then complete more academic assignments at home. The predictable results: stress and conflict, frustration and exhaustion. Kohn's book on homework is superb. He systematically demolishes the 'popular culture perspective' on the benefits of homework and what it is designed to. About the Author Alfie Kohn is the author of fourteen previous books, including Punished by Rewards, The Schools Our Children Deserve, and Unconditional.