Homework Should Be Banned
Debate Rounds (4)
I EDITED THE ORIGINAL DEBATE, HOPEFULLY IT HELPS MAKE CON'S ARGUMENT NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
Structure of rounds:
2: Opening/argument; no rebuttal by con
3: Rebuttals; no defense by con
4: Defense of original arguments; closing statements; no rebuttals; no new information.
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Any rule-breaking should result in all 7 points going to the side that did not break the rules. These are very simple rules.
Topic: Homework, whether seen as worthwhile or seen non-vital homework should be banned from school.
NOTES & CLARIFICATIONS
1. Studying for a test should not count as homework. Therefore a student can do assignments such as "study-guides" at home before an exam.
2. This is for pre-assigned work: meaning it was planned the students would have to do work at home.
3. IF this became law, note that teachers would not be allowed to over-assign so students would have to work at home.
4. Does not include long-term assignments (book reports, science labs, oral reports, reading books assigned to the class, etc.)
5. Non-vital homework should be seen as assignments that do not help a student's understanding of the assignments (i.e. crossword puzzles [believe it or not they do sometimes show up in higher grades]).
6. The assignments that can be seen as homework include worksheets, writing assignments, etc.
7. I MADE THIS IMPOSSIBLE TO ACCEPT: IF YOU WANT TO ACCEPT: PLEASE NOTIFY ME THROUGH THE COMMENTS AND I WILL SELECT AN OPPONENT. I MEAN NO DISRESPECT TO WHOEVER I DO NOT CHOOSE.
I hope this is going to be very interesting.
I accept the challenge.
Please, state your case.
I'm looking forward to this and hope we'll both learn a lot.
I believe homwork should be banned for a few reasons:
1. It can put too much stress on the child and family.
2. The stress may cause a decrease in performance in school.
3. When students don't have the teacher they may not have enough help.
Professor Sue Hallam of the Institute of Education at London University believes much of the friction for families is caused by increased amounts of formal written school work coming home . Hallam has studied homework extensively.
It is possible that too much homework causes too much stress, and subsequently lowered grades and test scores. The University of Virginia did a study on students with a lot of homework: and they found it was detrimental: except for students who said they do a half hour or more of math homework every night. Their math grades and test scores rose in math, but everything else got worse or stayed about the same .
Elizabeth Truss, who is a member of England's Parliament, and is in control of England's education system, delievered a speech at the Oxford Conference of Education about replacing homework with more math lessons at school, and scrapping time-wasting lessons to make the time . She wants this in England because they are falling behind countries such as China. They believe it will help improve test scores so they can catch up with China. The US is also in a similar situation (falling behind China), yet we have yet to even think about a large reform, even though our system is outdated, being called a "mid-twentieth century factory" by some. Homework is not really needed if the US reforms because they can do what Elizabrth Truss wants to do in England and more: they want to cut out time-wasting lessons: the US can cut out time-wasting subjects, such as health and PE. Homework would just be an exercise done at the last few minutes of class, and teachers would be able to help in some subjects such as science.
And finally, a student would do better with teacher help rather than having to do things on their own. This argument is based off of opinion and it seems it cannot be backed by sources. It is opinion based. And my opinion is that students may be assigned things they don't understand, and because there is more homework being assigned today than 50 years ago, and the homework is harder, many people don't put much thought to it. But a high school critical thinking problem given to a 7th grader may make the student stuck. They cannot ask their teacher for help when at home, and if they go into school the next day with the problem blank or horribly incorrect, some teachers may make the student redo the homework, and mark it late. The student's grade would then suffer because the teacher was not there to help.
Homework has been a reliable tool in education for a very long time. Motions to have homework banned are a phenomenon unique to the Unites States of America , where there has been a strong movement against homework.
The international PISA study  has shown that US pupils perform at or slightly below the world's average, making the American system as it is not exactly a good example of efficient schooling.
So, in order to arrive at a reliable conclusion about the use of homework, we may have to look at it on a global scale.
1. Homework helps pupils to consolidate what they have learned
Let's first have a look at research. In 1989 and 2006, Professor Harris Cooper from the Department Of Psychology of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, conducted two reviews of a total of 180 studies on the topic of homework .
His findings were consistent in that homework is beneficial to student success, unless it is overdone.
"Duke University researchers have reviewed more than 60 research studies on homework between 1987 and 2003 and concluded that homework does have a positive effect on student achievement. [...] Cooper said the research is consistent with the "10-minute rule" suggesting the optimum amount of homework that teachers ought to assign. The "10-minute rule," Cooper said, is a commonly accepted practice in which teachers add 10 minutes of homework as students progress one grade. In other words, a fourth-grader would be assigned 40 minutes of homework a night, while a high school senior would be assigned about two hours."
It's not exactly counter-intuitive, either: the more often a task is practiced, the better we get at it.
Of course, there is - as with ANY training - always a risk of overdoing it. But that is only logical, too. So, there is a perfect amount of homework, and a "too much" just as well as a "too little" - as with anything in life.
Abolishing homework would rob students of a chance to be better in school. There can be no doubt about that, and keeping people from improving would impede their civil rights.
Homework is thus important and must be offered to pupils. It must be regulated not to overtax them.
2. Homework is an important diagnostic tool
Teachers have limited resources. They can not be there for students all day, they need time to prepare lessons, review exams and be prepared to solve conflicts. They also have a right to a family life of their own, and should participate in continued training in order to be able to offer their students the best possible education. This means that ways have to be found to aid the teachers in their task of helping children get through school.
Homework is an important part of this.
Teachers work with their students in school teaching them subject matter. Assessment of their progress is necessary to ensure that pupils do not fail their exams. Homework is the perfect way of doing this. Students perform tasks without assistance from the teacher, under conditions not too different from an exam. By correcting these exercises, teachers can evaluate which student needs more attention and invite parents to consult them on how to support their child if the need arises.
There simply isn't enough time in class to watch every student's performance. Besides, a vast majority of students is afraid of exams. Assessing students' performance in class would be just that: an exam. Homework is far less stressful, because it's usually not graded. Mistakes uncovered in homework don't harm students' grades, they are just a chance for pupil and teacher to realize where more work might be needed.
3. Homework teaches more than subject material
Some people complain that homework is repetitive and seems to serve no purpose.
But that is an experience all too familiar from professional careers as adults . Many professional workers feel that their existence is filled with repetitive, useless work. This puts a lot of stress on them.
Being prepared for this is something crucial for the process of growing up. For children, life is all fun and games. As adults, they have to set all of that aside during working hours. And when will they learn how to cope with that experience? Class is different from work, as there is always an authority in front of the students, talking to them. The students don't have to actually produce something, they are recipients of instruction. Homework, however, is quite similar to the actual working experience: being isolated, performing the same task over and over again, without any apparent reward. But homework - if put to use appropriately - only takes up a maximum of two hours a day, as opposed to a "nine to five" job. The result is that children are prepared for their later life and are less likely to succumb to the stress of a working life then. Routine is the key word here. Occasional reports or other long-term assignments just don't serve the same purpose of getting children used to this situation.
But homework does even more than that.
Doing exercises for practice in school with the assistance of a teacher makes students dependent on exterior help. They can never learn to think for themselves and solve problems on their own with a teacher always looking over their shoulder. I can sadly only offer my personal experience as a tutor in that respect. In my country, there are private schools that work without homework, where teachers assist students in school, even during exams. As a result, when these children transfer to a public school, they fail miserably whenever they are asked to perform any task all by themselves. But these skills are essential for students. At the very least, every student is completely deserted during the final exam. If the students have not learned by then how to cope with work assignments all by themselves. Homework is an important step towards self-sufficiency. And while long-term assignments do serve the same purpose, they do not really help children learn how to deal with the stress of close deadlines.
The purpose of school is to get students ready for the working life. And we're not talking about rocket science here. Even hamburger vendors are required to work pressed for time. So if children are not introduced to that concept, they would fail miserably at any job out there.
Is this a nice experience? No. But neither are hunger, fatigue or fear. Yet it is important not to be overprotective. Keeping any negative experience away from children harms their development .
Is it fair that sometimes we have to work things out all by ourselves? No, but that's how things are in LIFE. Suppose you're on a lonely road and your car breaks down. It requires practice to fight down the uprising panic, remain calm and find a solution to the problem. A child without that practice might just run off into one direction planlessly or curl up into a ball and hope that help will arrive all by itself. But the practice of overcoming fear and panic can only come from experience. Homework will help children acquire this important skill on a rather nonhazardous level. The worst thing that can happen is a little bit of humiliation and a second attempt at solving the problem.
Homework is thus beneficial on multiple levels, and must not be banned for the sake of all students.
In response to your no. 1 argument:
That study is rather outdated: and since we have been doing much more homework. 6% of students in grades 3-12 in 2007 do 3 or more hours per night , which is a large amount compared to a study done in 2003, where a graph showed that about 8% of students in grades 3-12 do 2 or more hours per night . There has been an increase of homework amount since then , and it is not deniable. Also, students from (ages) 6-8's workload was more than doubled from 1981 to 1997 .
In response to your no. 2 argument:
While I agree that homework can be a good way to assess where students are in their understanding of the subject, I do not agree that homework is far less stressful, and I am skeptical on your argument about a lot of homework not being graded. In a poll done by Gallup:
As for the graded/ungraded homework: it usually depends on the teacher's policy. Some may not grade it at all, some may grade it for correct/incorrect answers, and some will just give a perfect grade if it was done. And mistakes can be found in exercises during class, and the student and teacher can work on that. Homework is not needed for finding mistakes if exercises on the same subject are done during class.
In response to your no. 3 argument:
You said the homework is repetitive, and that teaches a lesson about working adults: "Many professional workers feel that their existence is filled with repetitive, useless work. This puts a lot of stress on them." How would this lesson help then? We shouldn't want to make students stressed about homework, even if it means not showing them what working is like.
You also said that homework only takes 2 hours, while a work day takes 8. But many people forget the rest of the day. While adults spend 8 hours at work, they spend about 1 hour per day at lunch. Students spend about 7 hours per day at school, and spend about 40-50 minutes at lunch. Then they have 2 hours of homework, and they have spent over 8 hours doing schoolwork, whereas an adult worked for 7. And long term projects and reports can serve a much larger lesson than 30 math questions. They have to compile information, and make sometimes presentations. Many businessmen do similar work, scientists always have to research, people based in political matters have to do research and sell what they think. Even teachers have to use presentation skills while teaching their students.
Failing tests can put a load of stress on a student, but 2 hours of homework adds to it. They do have negative experiences, so there should be no rush to add to them.
The lonely road example makes little sense to me: practice doesn't help in keeping calm. I also don't know how students can practice keeping calm in those situations, and I don't think no homework will make them curl into a ball when presented with work. Nor do I think they will run aimlessly into the woods, with their arms flailing.
In response to:
1. It can put too much stress on the child and family.
My opponent argues that it "is possible that too much homework causes too much stress".
This is something I will admit. It is only logical. But I miss - and refute - any reasoning why homework should be completely banned on these grounds. By the same argumentation, ANYTHING would have to be banned, as there is a "too much" of anything.
Too much water will kill you.
Too much oxygen in your lungs can kill you (commonly known as hyperventilation) 
Should we ban those, too?
The research I offered shows that the PROPER amount of homework is beneficial, leading only to one conclusion:
Regulate homework instead of banning it.
Even my opponent's OWN SOURCE doesn't speak in favour of banning homework:
"Teachers need to be much more clear about why they are assigning homework and what the homework is for," Tai said. "If teachers aren't really incorporating homework into their teaching, it's unclear there is any type of benefit at all and it actually may end up hurting students."
This, again, clearly calls for a regulation of homework, not an abolition.
In response to:
"the US can cut out time-wasting subjects, such as health and PE."
Firstly, this is a plan by a politician. It is not backed up with any corroborating studies that this will actually help academic performance. So it is nothing more than pure conjecture that this will actually help students improve.
Secondly, my opponent did not even provide a source for this claim. While he did put a tag "3", there is no source given under that tag.
Thirdly, health and PE are not time-wasting, as a study from 1999 confirms :
"These three studies provide encouraging findings about the effects of enhanced physical education on academic performance. Two studies reported academic benefits, and one reported no difference, in spite of 14-26% reduction in instruction time for subjects other than physical education."
In response to:
"3. When students don't have the teacher they may not have enough help."
One essential goal of any education is to make children able to work independently . They must not be raised to rely on a teacher's help all the time. How will they ever learn how to pass an exam, if that will be the first time they may not ask their teacher for help?
Homework is necessary to try out strategies learned in class by oneself, so as to see whether they have been understood.
Even if the homework was graded, it would make no difference in favour of my opponent's opinion-based argument.
Let's say we ban homework. The student leaves class believing they understood a topic, but they have overlooked something. There is no homework to tell the student that he got stuck, but he's still stuck nonetheless. The next day the teacher comes up with a surprise test. The student fails, never understanding why, his grades are bad nonetheless. So, banning homework will not solve the problem you propose.
You have one argument that doesn't necessitate the banning of homework. You have basically conceded that the proper amount of homework is beneficial (by saying that too much may do harm you have accepted that there's an amount that does not do harm in contrast).
You have one argument without a source given in spite of claiming so.
You have one opinion-based argument that doesn't lead anywhere, as it doesn't add to any solution. I have countered it with a reliable source about the goal of education.
Your argument is thus completely refuted.
And you also said my stress argument is weak because there is too much of everything. But how does oxygen and water relate? One can be done in spare time in a classroom, the others you need to survive. You can survive without homework, in fact, you may actually feel better: even freer. But these are from both ends of the spectrum, and don"t connect.
You also used my source against me. "If teachers aren't really incorporating homework into their teaching, it's unclear there is any type of benefit at all and it actually may end up hurting students." You made it sound like: "if (they) aren"t incorporating homework into teaching...end up hurting students." What was said was: "if (they) aren"t really incorporating homework into teaching...end up hurting students." There"s a huge difference there. You not recognizing the "really" in the sentence. It didn"t mean: no homework is bad. But the "really" brought the meaning to: if the homework doesn"t help in teaching students, then the homework does harm, not good.
You also called me out for using a politician"s plan. You said that I just said we can cut PE and health. I said we can scrap homework and time wasting lessons and replace it with extra lessons in vital areas. The person I cite also seems to be well educated. Elizabeth Truss went to Oxford and is England"s Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education and Childcare. I think she well qualified to make arguments about cutting worthless lessons and what to do with education. I used health/PE as an example. I honestly don"t think we need to hear for the thousandth time that drugs are bad, nor do I think kids need to learn how to play sports they don"t like. According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, only a third of high school students choose to take PE . That shows they don"t want that subject because they believe it is a waste of time. Also, "the quality of physical education where it still exists, has suffered." Paula Kun, spokesperson for the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, said this . Obviously PE isn"t what it used to be. And as for health, the 8+ years about no drugs and yes to abstinence wastes a good 40 or so minutes per day.
And yes, independence is a vital goal of education. But asking what the equation setup was after the kid was absent for a few days isn"t extreme on a simple assignment. You draw connections from homework to exams but they are nothing alike. And I"m sure you know, being a tutor for 20 years, that you help the student in need of help, you aren"t giving them an answer. So even if you have a good source, you have an illogical argument. You would be the worst tutor in the world if you told a kid they had to learn independence. The goal of education is truly ONE thing: LEARNING. You can"t learn everything without help. If you give a 12 year old a high school biology textbook, don"t expect them to be Einsteins by the end of the year without a skilled teacher"s help. It"s no crime to do your job: and teachers teach their students. This isn"t in need of a source: because we learn to do something in school: think critically. I dismiss your use of a source on working independently because not all things involve questions being asked. By 3rd grade they know how to work independently, but help shouldn"t be thrown away. If a student is in need of help, throwing a sheet of paper in front of them WON'T FIX IT.
"Homework is necessary to try out strategies learned in class by oneself, so as to see whether they have been understood." Did I not propose a simple solution for that? I think I did.
That whole argument about thinking they have it correct, but they don"t does not help you. I said we should cut stupid classes and give more lessons in vital subjects, along with more help from teachers. That is a simple solution. I also said they should do those homework assignments with the extra time they get from cutting subjects, and get help from the teacher if they need it. They know they"re stuck then, so why are you still trying to use the homework as a diagnostic tool? It isn"t needed with the simplest of solutions. I said it can be a good tool to see a student"s understanding, I never said it had to be used for seeing a student"s understanding of a topic.
So, no, my argument is not completely refuted.
But my last thought is: why would you call me out for using opinion, when you used experience as your second paragraph of your third argument in the first round. Cut the double standard.
My opponent has called the 2006 study of Duke University "outdated", while countering it with a study done in 2003, which is clearly older, covering data only up to 1999 .
He then proposes a "study" from September 2013  as a more reliable and current source. This article relies on the 2007 "The MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, 2007: The Homework Experience", conducted by Harris Interactive.
Since my opponent introduced this, the following is NOT a new argument. I quote from that very study he entered as evidence:
Most teachers, students and parents believe in the value of homework. A majority of each of these key stakeholders thinks that doing homework is important and helps students learn more in school.
Three-quarters of students (77%) believe that doing homework is important or very important and seven in ten (69%) agree that doing homework helps them learn more in school.
School-parent relations have improved since 1987, at the same time that parent-school contact is more common.
A majority of parents believe that the right amount of homework is assigned.
Lower achieving students and high achieving students differ in their approach to doing homework, with lower achieving students spending less time on homework and less frequently doing homework at home.
Students who do not believe that homework is important are lower achieving and say they receive a poorer quality of education than others.
Teachers assign homework to meet a variety of student needs, including skills needed for their current school work, as well as skills that can be applicable to their future schooling, employment and ability to successfully navigate life in general."
I must admit that this study is indeed an eye-opener. Unfortunately, it is clear that this study does nothing to argue for the abolition of homework: "This chapter explores students’, teaches’ and parents’ evaluation of homework’s benefits and challenges. In addition, the perspectives of a group of education leaders are incorporated regarding perceived problems and potential steps towards improvement."
So, what the study referenced by my opponent says is that despite all his claims to the contrary, relationships between parents and school have improved over the same time that the amount of homework has increased.
A vast majority of students accepts homework and acknowledges its value.
My opponent chose to keep all these findings to himself, trying to base his arguments off of fragmented data.
The fact that teachers abuse homework has already been addressed by me. This clearly calls for a regulation of homework. But again, there is no logical connection between the amount of homework increasing and having to ban it. As I said before: only because something can be taken to the excess, where it becomes harmful, this thing doesn't have to be abolished, regardless of what it is. Claiming otherwise creates a false dichotomy: either to have too much of something or have nothing at all. But that leaves a big space in between disregarded.
So, students do more homework today. But the study my opponent introduced shows - see above - that those students who do more of that homework also achieve better grades. So it's not a bad thing at all.
The poll by Gallup my opponent offers as evidence clearly says: "stress due to activities" before adding "and homework". So this poll isn't about homework exclusively, and thus contains data on activities beyond school as a reason for stress. Based on that compilation of data, we can sadly not discern what is considered to be the reason for that stress: activities or homework?
My opponent concedes that homework is a good way of assessment.
He disagrees with my argument about homework being a less stressful alternative to surprise exams, but does not provide any argument against it.
He admits that a wide variety of approaches to grading is existent, which means he now concedes that not all homework is a danger to the students' success.
My opponent claims that there is enough opportunity in class to check every single student for mistakes and understanding, but that is clearly not the case. Class is not the proper place to address every single student's problems individually, since the teacher can only discuss the problems of one student at a time. Revised exercises allow the teacher to address each pupil individually. If the students do their exercises by themselves, which is necessary for their independence, why should the exercise be done in school, while the teacher just sits around doing nothing? It would be a waste of time. School time is for instruction, homework for practice. This way, school time is used most efficiently.
"even if it means not showing them what working is like."
Then what is the purpose of school at all? School exists to prepare children for their professional training and working life. As seen above in the MetLife Survey.
Being in school is not the same as a working life. All the students have to do is watch and listen, they bear no responsibility except for themselves. The only time of the day a student spends in a way comparable to what working adults do is during homework, as far as school goes. So my calculation still stands. It's very easy: adults are regularly dispensed from WORK for TRAINING. So there is a distinction. School time simply isn't work.
"And long term projects and reports can serve a much larger lesson than 30 math questions. They have to compile information, and make sometimes presentations. Many businessmen do similar work, scientists always have to research, people based in political matters have to do research and sell what they think. Even teachers have to use presentation skills while teaching their students."
This is a valuable lesson, too, which is why we have these assignments in addition to homework. But again, this creates a false dichotomy: it's not like these two lessons are mutually exclusive. Why should we rob students of valuable practice that improves their performance (as shown in the MetLife Survey)?
"Failing tests can put a load of stress on a student, but 2 hours of homework adds to it."
That makes no sense at all. Completing one's homework is very reassuring and thus reduces stress.
"practice doesn't help in keeping calm"
That makes no sense either. Practice is known to reduce exam anxiety:
"4. Exam-taking preparation
Practice on sample tests in the textbook or study guide."
Freezing or running off during exams is a well-known phenomenon: "It manifests itself physically through episodes of sweating, nausea or “butterflies” in your stomach, and psychologically through confusion, mental blocks and panic attacks." 
So, in summary:
My arguments still stand, while my opponent has done nothing to prove that any of his concerns actually necessitates or warrants the abolition of homework.
His own sources - had he read them closely - say that homework is beneficial and accepted by an overwhelming majority of students, parents and teachers alike.
There is nothing to be added.
I thank for this opportunity to state this case and thank our readers for following us. Take care.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: The reason for the decision is simple: I never saw a reason throughout the entirety of Pro's arguments to state that all homework is harmful. So long as he concedes that some homework can be beneficial, and never contends that regulation is insufficient or causes more harm in other ways, I'm left to question whether banning is necessary or regulation is enough. I'm not given very strong reasons to believe Con that regulation is more beneficial, though I have a few on his end that are at least getting some weight. I'm not seeing any points from Pro that give banning weight, at least not any that isn't taken by Con's arguing for regulation. I need to see a solid argument for banning, if for no other reason than that it's Pro's central burden in this debate. So long as he hasn't met that burden, my vote goes to Con.
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