The Instigator
Logic_on_rails
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
Muted
Con (against)
Losing
11 Points

Reduce homework, lengthen schooltime

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Post Voting Period
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after 7 votes the winner is...
Logic_on_rails
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/5/2012 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,339 times Debate No: 27869
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (7)

 

Logic_on_rails

Pro

Resolved: It would, on balance, be beneficial to reduce the amount of homework given in conjunction with an extension to the school day [see model below].

Proposal: Have a strong reduction in homework, lengthen school to a 9-5 length day.

Rules

The debate shall adhere to the following structure:

Round 1: Acceptance, Rules, Resolution / Model Outline and Definitions
Round 2: Opening Statements, No Rebuttals (see below on this)
Round 3: New Arguments and Rebuttals
Round 4: Rebuttals and Closing Statements (No new arguments)

The only rules I insists upon are the following, but I will accept any reasonable clarifications or amendments my opponent might choose to provide in Round 1, although clarification prior to acceptance is preferred.

Arguments and source citations must appear within the four rounds of this debate only. Arguments and citations may not appear in offsite links, other debates, forums, or comments.

Dropped arguments are not concessions. Arguments should be seen as whole units from opening to closing statements.

Although R2 is not to be used for rebuttals, it is possible that my opponent’s arguments may lend themselves to countering mine naturally. This is allowed as it’s not a rebuttal per se. What I don’t want to see is a line by line refutation in round 2.

All words are to take their standard definition. The only matter is what constitutes homework. A discussion of this is under the model outline section.

To voters, please judge this debate based on this debate and not upon preconceptions you may have.

Model Outline / Resolutional Matters

While R1 is not for arguing, it’s critical to discuss the resolution and precisely what we’re debating on this contentious issue. Let me outline a few things that are to be taken as given barring reasonable amendments in round 1.

Scope

This debate is not limited to the US only. Also, the debate focuses primarily on a high school context as we might make exceptions for kindergarten students for instance.

Homework

I divide homework into 2 categories:

1. Assignments / assessments / major projects
2. Worksheets, maths exercises etc.

We are discussing the elimination of type 2. Type 1 still exists, although in a perhaps reduced manner. The extended school day enables more learning (vs. homework) ; Con can dispute this if he wishes later.

Timing / School logistics

Logistics, on the school level, is not meant to be a crucial issue in this debate – bureaucrats could probably resolve this matter. However, the school day would be reworked to accommodate a 9-5. My proposal is as follows:

To accommodate the 2 hour extension to the school day an additional 20 minutes of rest / break, in the vein of lunch or morning tea, would be added. This would be added to the 20 minute morning tea and 40 minute lunch break typically found in schools (no negotiation on this – this is to be accepted) . That totals 80 minutes. Students retain their 40 minute lunch. 2 other 40 minute blocks would be scheduled into the day – one near the end of the day, one near the start. Students would choose which time block they wish to spend their free time (like choosing an elective; it’s a choice for the same duration that the same subjects are kept) in (40 minutes), and be in class for the other 40; yes, classes aside from this one retain their usual one hour length.

Why the complexity? If students choose to have their free time in the later 40 minutes block, after all other classes, then they could leave school during this break. This is to accommodate extra-curricular activities and the like. More on this in round 2.

A clarification

To clear up 2 uncertainties from my previous debate, teaching will be as normal from 9-5 as per the model outline. On the scope, I’d prefer this remain to higher years where it’s more applicable – homework reduction + school extension doesn’t work if there’s no homework to reduce, as with younger students! However, I’ll say that all students go from 9-5. However, the amount of free time would be greater for younger students because the homework reduction associated with increased school time does not exist for them; this time is transferred to free time. Let’s not get bogged down on logistics though if possible.

Weighing mechanisms

This is up for contention, to a point. One judges education reform based on what educational end (or ends) are desired. It is the debaters place to forward these ends, and have the voters judge policies as per which end they believe encapsulates the goal of education, or should encapsulate such a goal. The greatest overall good resulting from these policies is to be preferred when judging.
More in later rounds if need be.

A quick note on sourcing

Some among you will have noted that some sections of this are eerily similar to this thread’s OP http://www.debate.org... Before people scream plagiarism, I am that thread’s author. This idea had it’s genesis from http://www.debate.org... and I will later be borrowing on a quote from YYW in that thread (which I was a contributor to). Aside from not having to source these repeatedly, I’d recommend the audience read these threads for their own education (mind the pun) , especially the latter one.

Also, I have done a partial debate on the subject, so I'll be using my round 2 arguments from http://www.debate.org...;. http://www.debate.org...

I thank whoever my opponent may be for this debate for agreeing to debate this subject. Let’s have an intellectually rigorous debate on this subject (I myself am undecided personally) and be civil and convivial. Voters, please read the debate in full and judge appropriately; we are in your debt for taking the time to read this debate readers.
Debate Round No. 1
Logic_on_rails

Pro

My thanks to Muted for his acceptance. I hope for an intelligent, interesting debate. By virtue of his brief R1, I presume he understands the resolution in full.

Massed vs. Spaced Presentation

One of education’s main goals is for students to retain what they learn at school – we ought to prefer systems which result in greater retention of knowledge as it’s a goal for education. A good test score due to cramming, with the student later forgetting such knowledge is sub-optimal vs. a lower test score yet greater memory retention.

How does this relate to the resolution? Being in school encourages spaced presentation, which results in better memory retention.

This is all about the ‘spacing effect’ [1]. This effect details how humans more easily learn / remember things when studied a few times over a longer period of time (spaced presentation) as opposed to repeated study in a shorter timespan (massed presentation). However, and this is key - "the benefit of spaced presentations does not appear at short retention intervals; that is, at short retention intervals, massed presentation lead to better memory performance than spaced presentations" . SeeGreene, R.L. (1989). Spacing effects in memory: Evidence for a two-process account. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 15(3), 371-377.

School via timetabling tends to promote spaced presentation – lessons are not put back to back to back for the same subject. However, many students might do a mass of homework for a subject in one go because a) Their schedule promotes that, b) They remember as they go (ie. Ex 1. Is a prerequisite for Ex 2. And so remembering Ex 1 helps with Ex 2) along with other reasons. Essentially, students will tend to group together clumps of related homework and do them in go, which is more a form of massed presentation than spaced presentation. Ergo, school, by encouraging spaced presentation under the proposed model through putting ‘homework’ in class time in effect, is preferable.

But it doesn’t end there for memory retention.

I recently read Memory by Jonathan K. Foster (first published 2009), one of OUP’s fascination very short introductions. To quote one part: “Other things being equal, we tend to remember information better if we are in a similar physical context and emotional state at the time we wish to retrieve information as we were in at the time we were exposed to that information.” School is more akin to work than the home environment, so as per a more similar physical context we remember better. This is specified in the encoding specificity principle. Also, the emotional state at school is more constant than at home, more like work. This again promotes better memory retention as the retrieval cue matches memories better. This sort of logic strongly explains why we can’t remember dreams – the physical context is different, our emotional state different and our physiological state are also different.


Homework vs. Instruction

On homework briefly:

Much homework is sub-optimal, which can't be helped. Some homework is good but a student doesn't realise it. Some homework is simply beneficial. The issue in evaluating the value of homework is what students do outside of school - for some capable people homework is restrictive; many are just wasting their youth on trivialities; homework is good, no matter it's sub-optimal state, for these people.

Textbooks are instructional to a point. However, a teacher’s guidance + a textbook is superior. If a student doesn’t understand their textbook’s example (say, maths) when doing an exercise (the type of homework being restricted) then they will perform sub-optimally (ie. Very short answers to written questions), waste an inordinate amount of time doing the exercise (vs. doing the exercise then something else productive) or they’ll copy the answers. Some of those are diametrically opposite, but that reflects the student’s beliefs being different.

A student at school will seek guidance from a teacher when stuck, eliminating time wastage (‘inordinate’). They will have greater difficulty copying answers due to teacher supervision. They will be pushed to perform optimally not just by the teacher, but by peers – iron sharpens iron is just as true in education.

Cost

Streamlining students and workers to the same timetable reduces things like day care costs somewhat, debases tuition costs (private tutoring that is) and ensures maximal use of public transport on a wider basis (many buses and trains around school time are less cramped than during peak hours) .

More importantly though, parents can work for longer. There’s less concern for parents to be at home, supervising their children, if they can trust that their child is safe and productive at school, vs. potentially the converse at home.

Reduction in general mischief

It’s a fact – youth disproportionately commit crimes. “A comparison of the proportion of total offenders who were aged 10–24 in 2009–10 (48%) with the proportion of the general population who were aged 10–24 in Australia as at December 2009 (23%), clearly shows the higher proportion of young people in the offender population (graph S13.1).” [2] What do youth have that adults have? A disproportionate amount of unallocated free time, which combined with various rebellious impulses and hormones results in crimes being committed. See the graph in the link for a visual explanation of the aforementioned.

A solid school environment and a reduction in this poorly utilised free time (crime is a poor use of time with regards to the collective) will reduce crime. Furthermore, additional schooling increases the ability to get messages out to avoid drugs and the like. Government messages have been effective at reducing drug use, such as smoking [3] [4]. Education is cited as one of the main reasons for this decline in smoking. If we can combat smoking then a more effective message through a safe, controlled environment like school will also reduce illicit drug use, and legal, yet harmful drug use. Longer school hours can help achieve this through better education.

Working mindset / Lack of agrarian workforce currently

Why did the US and many other countries originally adopt a 9-3 style of schooling? Why did the, now rather ludicrous, idea of summer vacation eventuate in the US? The reason that this occurred was that the US was formerly an agrarian society – children of agrarian society left school to go work in the field at home. Now we have no such demand on our time other than school.

Let me quote YYW from the second link last round:

Children must be taught the importance of self discipline, the necessity of a strong work ethic and the importance of maximized productivity from birth. I'm not saying that kids should be pushed into the fields or factories, but rather suggesting that all the time wasted in the summer months is the opportunity cost of greater preparation for college, for grad school, for work and for life.

Now, this debate isn’t about summer vacation, but why not have children work as their parents do? It instills the values of work, the value of free time, presents social mischief (see earlier) and gives children and teenagers a greater appreciation of their parents duties and workload, which increases familial harmony.

This mindset in beneficial for future productivity – another goal of education.

Conclusion

Encouraging spaced presentation, increasing available instructional assistance, reducing cost, a reduction in crime and social mischief, the development of a working mindset and familial harmony are all good reasons to extend the school day.

I eagerly await my opponent’s response.

Sources

1- http://en.wikipedia.org...
2- http://www.abs.gov.au...
3- http://www.cancercouncil.com.au...
4- http://www.tobaccoinaustralia.org.au...
Muted

Con

I would like to thank Logic_on_Rails for instigating this debate. I too hope for an educational debate. There will be quite a few clashes between my opening and his. In this debate, I will merely be negating the resolution. Although there is no explicit requirement for me to have a BoP, it is implied under the debate structure.

My argument will be focused on a few strong points, as opposed to many weak points. As this is my first educational debate (Pun intended), I do not expect to present too compelling a case, but I will try.

I. School does not equip the students for work life

This is an obvious one. School primarily is meant to equip the student for success in life. Students have been known to be highly underprepared for the realities of the working world [1]. That, however, can be remedied if the student is willing to learn.

If, however, a student is kept in school for 9-5, there is absolutely no chance for the student to gain work experience. Work experience is absolutely vital for future job success. This has been recognized by the government, so much so that a “School to Work Initiatives Act” was passed in 1994. [2] Employers routinely value experience over qualifications [3][4]. This simply means that if there were two people with the same qualifications, the one with the more experience is hired. It also means that non-intellectual jobs like plumbing, currently one of the top paying jobs in the U.S. with a pay of $50,000 per year (http://www.indeed.com....) which do not need qualifications, would oick people with experience and no qualifications other than a license rather than a highly qualified person without experience.

No matter how much theoretical knowledge one might attain, without experience, qualifications mean nothing. What the full resolution wishes is for the banishment of any form of partial employment leading leading to a disadvantage between such students and students with work experience. If a student is in school from 9-5, the only time to work would be from 5-10, which is impractical.

For now, this is all I have to say on this point. I will await a rebuttal first.

II. Spacing effects can be implemented in other ways than through the resolution

This point is directly related to one of Pro’s other points. However, it is not exactly a rebuttal as it builds on the same fact but comes to a different conclusion without exactly negating Pro’s points. Pro has already given a concise explanation of the spacing effect, to which I will refer readers. My point rests on the fact that technology can implement this without the need of a human teacher [5]. Technology has been used, and is being used, to enhance the learning process outside of the school.

It has been found through multiple studies that people learn more, and faster, in a comfortable environment [6]. The obvious choice for the most comfortable place to be in is definitely the home, unless the student comes from a broken family. Combining information from [5] and [6], it becomes apparent that technology, widely used in homes, can be used to deliver lessons without the need of verbal transition between teacher and student. Students, furthermore, will be much more likely to learn as the environment surrounding them is conducive to learning, as the studies cited in [6] showed very clearly.

If the object of schools is not indeed to prepare students for work life, but to place as much knowledge as possible within their memories, then certainly it is more profitable to place students within a comfortable environment, specifically the home, to do homework in a regulated manner, allowing for maximal retention.

III. Cost[7][8][9]

This is a simple point which I will make very clear. The average pay for a U.S. teacher is incredibly low. A high school teacher will receive on the average, $43,954 per annum. This translates to about $3663 per month. The highest average pay is Special Education, Secondary School, with $44,867, or around $3739 per month.

Teachers in the U.S. spend an approximate 11 hours 20 minutes per day on the job. This includes marking homework, preparing lessons, and otherwise teaching. Preparing lessons take up the most time, as a good quality lesson requires much effort on the part of the teacher. Putting together a lesson is not as simple as ABC. At least 95 minutes is needed for job related activities other than direct teaching. If we consider 45 minutes to be for marking, 50 minutes would be taken up solely to prepare a 60 minute lecture.

In the U.K., it is even worse. Many teachers spend the whole night just to prepare for the next day’s lecture! This is highly damaging to their health.

To look at the amount given of work/pay, an average U.S. teacher will receive, assuming a total of 22 days of work, a mediocre $15.50/hour. Increasing their workload by 2 hours means that their pay has to increase, something which governments currently, with their already high education budget, would not like.

Replacing worn out teachers would also be problematic. It takes only a year for a teacher to get worn out, but it takes at least four/five years to train one.

Let us look at the average schedule of a teacher: A day has ~24 hours. 11 hours 20 minutes is spent on the job or on job related things. 8 hours or less will be used for sleep. This means that a teacher will have around 4 hours 40 minutes to have some life outside school. Let us take into account the fact that much of their holiday is also spent on work related items and that 70% of U.K teachers spend whole nights preparing lessons.

This means that the 8 hours reserved for sleep will now be used to concoct an effective lesson which, given the under three hours (1 hour 40 minutes being used for eating and other body maintenance) of sleep which might still be used for preparing.

What does this make. This makes sleepy teachers who will be ineffective at presenting the lessons they have tried so hard to make during the night. Sleepy teachers, no matter the learning methodology, will not be of help to students.

Conclusion:

The value of an addition of 20 minutes of extra lessons would not offset the cost in terms of health and quality. This 20 minutes was derived from: 60*2- (40*2 + 20) = 20. This is accurate. The amount of money required to train new teachers far outweigh the benefit in getting knowledge through to the student, which can be gained via other means. Experience in work would also be non-existent, meaning such students would be disadvantaged as a result.


I eagerly await a rebuttal of this, as I know Logic_on_rails is a very skilled debater.

1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
2. http://horizon.unc.edu...
3. http://www.careergeekblog.com...
4. http://www.ecademy.com...
5. http://mashable.com...
6. http://www.edutopia.org...
7. http://www.payscale.com... (All information in this section comes from these references)
8. http://www.washingtonpost.com... (U.S.)
9. http://www.dailymail.co.uk... (U.K.)
Debate Round No. 2
Logic_on_rails

Pro

My thanks to Muted for his response – it is a challenging, direct rebuttal. On BoP issues, Con need not have to present a case, but if he does not then any proven benefit is enough for me. As is, a weighing is required.

Just quickly, Con couldn’t rebut all arguments of mine last round (as per rules) , yet (as per memory retention and short term memory!) I’ll remind readers that my points ‘Reduction in general mischief’ and ‘Working Mindset / Lack of Agrarian Workforce’ and most of ‘Homework vs. Instruction’ have not been contended as yet.

Let’s go to the arguments – Con’s then a focus on mine.

School and Work Life

Con laments about how students aren’t being prepared for school. I agree completely and would be ready to debate a host of policies. The point though is whether my proposal increases the time spent on school related work – currently called homework and time in school.

If homework currently is > the increase in schooltime (and reduction in ‘homework’) then my system gives more time for student use. The converse applies. Let’s assume the net ‘homework’ component remains the same. Does the amount of student free time, time not required to be at school, increase?

Yes.

Under the current model lunch, recess and all other breaks occur at set times – they are immovable to the student; it is bad luck if you’d like to sacrifice a break at school for an equivalent amount of time outside school – you can’t. Under my model, as readers may recall, you can. Recall in R1 how we had 80 minutes of break built into the day; 40 was automatically set aside for lunch. That left 40 minutes which students could elect to have at the start or the end of the day. If they chose the day’s end then they could leave school at the start of that break. So, in terms of time which students can utilise freely (free time for things like work), my model provides 20 minutes extra for extracurricular activities, work etc. notwithstanding any changes in the amount of homework. If Con argues for a change in homework amount (the extra time ought to cancel out the reduction) then he gets to drink the associated poison.

That is... aside from all the other benefits of the scheme, particularly memory retention, which we’ll touch on later. For instance, in R2 I discussed how teacher instruction can help students do homework more productively if they’re stuck. Time saved is time that can be used for the very activities Con values.

Con needs to demonstrate how my model decreases available free time. Homework reduction is equivalent to school being lengthened; under my model extra free time is available. Lamenting school’s uselessness is irrelevant unless it can be linked to time for other activities.

Con’s calculation makes no sense as well. In Australia a 9-3 approx. (I have 8:50-3:10) day is the norm, although a longer school year is the compensation [1] [2]. Con, why the – (40*2 – 20) ? Con needs to elaborate on this example.

Memory retention, homework, spacing effect

Con lamented the failure of school. Con’s first source started with “The Department for Work and Pensions minister said he was "genuinely shocked" by "the very small number of young people coming out of school with good GCSE passes in core subjects”(about 1 in 6 said later) . What would help with this? Better memory retention.

In R2 I outlined how spaced presentation was superior to massed presentation for memory retention purposes, and how school promoted spaced presentation by virtue of the lessons being spaced out on the timetable. Indeed, school forces spaced presentation vs. the massed presentation of the home. Con does state that the spacing effect can occur at home. Agreed. However, this will necessarily happen less than under the model, ergo worse memory retention. Also, I specifically noted that a student will tend to do homework in clumps (say, a bunch of maths exercises) because massed presentation is at work!

But it doesn’t end there for memory retention.

I recently read Memory by Jonathan K. Foster (first published 2009), one of OUP’s fascination very short introductions. To quote one part: “Other things being equal, we tend to remember information better if we are in a similar physical context and emotional state at the time we wish to retrieve information as we were in at the time we were exposed to that information.” School is more akin to work than the home environment, so as per a more similar physical context we remember better. This is specified in the encoding specificity principle. Also, the emotional state at school is more constant than at home, more like work. This again promotes better memory retention as the retrieval cue matches memories better. This sort of logic strongly explains why we can’t remember dreams – the physical context is different, our emotional state different and our physiological state are also different.

On Con’s other points:

Technology is getting better, but it’s no substitute for a qualified teacher at school at the ready – that’s what my model gives. Also, technology is a wash – every year 9 student in the public sector is already given a laptop. [3] At least in NSW they do!

On comfort, I concede homes are generally more comfortable, although friends can mitigate this discomfort.

To recap, homework done at school is done in a manner of spaced presentation. This is superior for memory retention. Furthermore, recall is strengthened by a similar emotional state and physical context, which happens when learning is conducted more strongly in a given place, such as school. These effects far outweigh some minor comfort benefits. Memory is strengthened tremendously by shifting homework to school time.

Cost / Teacher Workload

Con is right, the US has poor teacher pay:



See that? The US is far to the right...

I strongly suggest higher pay for teachers, and more respect as in Finland. [4] Would that we could change that. However, Con makes the mistake of assuming a higher workload for teachers, and the associated problems. Evidence? No, assertion. Remember, the increased time at school is in substitute for marking things like homework at home, there doesn’t have to be additional lectures. If Con wishes to contend that homework shouldn’t be marked he can. I'm all for Con's concerns... if they apply to the proposed model, which isn't proven.

In fact, reducing homework separates work and home life, which is beneficial.

Also, with better memory retention the teacher has to waste less time re-explaining content. Time saved that can be utilised as the teacher wishes.

Finally, my cost points weren’t refuted – debase private tuition costs, reduce day care costs, and, crucially, streamline use of public transport and the like (more efficient, less cost of public transport... maybe those savings could go to teachers pay in a dream...) .

And my last point, to quote from R2:

“Parents can work for longer. There’s less concern for parents to be at home, supervising their children, if they can trust that their child is safe and productive at school, vs. potentially the converse at home.

That point ties into the social mischief point, which hasn’t been contended as yet. Families save money if students aren’t damaging things, doing drugs , as well as earning more through working longer hours of course.

Conclusion

Con must refute the points of this round + those of mine unscathed of mine by his R2 (in part as per the rules). Con has work to do, specifically, he must prove how his points apply to my model and not just a general attack on schools, and how they outweigh my benefits. I look forward to Con’s reply.

Sources

1 - http://www.infoplease.com...

2 - http://nces.ed.gov...

3 - http://ozteacher.com.au...

4 - http://www.smh.com.au...

Muted

Con

I would like to thank Logic for a fascinating and expected reply. I will address all of Pro’s point in this post in the same order as Pro. Before we continue, however, I must note that I’ve never seen the 9-3 school day in operation. I have only seen the 7:30-12:30 (Primary) and 7:30-6:00pm (Secondary).

I. Life.

Firstly, I will address the issue of the added time. In Pro’s proposal, he adds 120 minutes total to the day, 40 minutes lunch, 20 minutes ECA, and 40 minutes others. Note that this proposal is practically impossible to implement. The latter 40 minutes are fixed near the start or end of the school day. This does not at all enable a student to learn more via spaced presentation than already present. Why?

Let us suppose that in a hypothetical situation half the class decide to take the first 40 minutes and the second half the evening 40 minutes. This forces (with emphasis) the teachers to teach both 40 minutes, negating completely the proposal Pro gave in solution to my argument regarding cost. What if each class elected collectively which portion of the day they would chose to spend in free time? Well, this creates a different problem, and one much harder to rectify. Suppose 49% of the class chose differently from the majority, this 49%, should they be disappointed, begin to text,[1] etc. in class, negating absolutely the spaced/massed presentation proposal from Pro. What next? Class Police?

The proposal made by Pro only proceeds to shift the schedule towards the middle of the day. It does not at all fundamentally change the number of classes or the way in which information is given. Note that Pro has only allowed the inclusion of one extra shorter class, which does not add much at all to the learning process.

My apologies, my conclusion calculation is in error. It should be only 40 added class minutes, with which I expanded on the many problems above. I made an error in assuming two blocks of 40 minutes.

From personal experience, many service sector companies like to employ part time workers, mostly students, during the peak hours. This corresponds to 5pm-8pm. This allows students not only to gain sales experience, but also a small means of income for the student. Note that Pro’s proposal would negate this valuable source of experience or force the student to sleep later, which actually would negate any benefits the proposal might give, if any. Note that taking the 40 minutes in the evening does not allow for a proper completion of homework. As Pro admits, homework is vital to the learning process.

Sleep deprivation is actually very harmful to the brain, “When a person is taught a new skill his or her performance does not improve until he or she receives at least eight hours of sleep.”[2]

Note that at least 8 hours of sleep is needed. Getting work experience would be absolutely impossible. That is, unless one removes social life and family bonding experiences, work experience will be very hard to come by.

II. Spacing

Note that in my counter-proposal I used the fact that technology is increasing. An increase in technology means that exercises can be digital and formatted in such a way that it utilizes the spacing effect.

It would seem that our two sources are in conflict. At least, superficially. However, note again Pro’s quotation. We tend to remember better if we are in a similar situation. The assertion that school is more akin to work is just that. (Not to mention that it contradicts my own work experience)

In fact, there has been studies that show that people who work from home are more productive than those that worked from an office. They are more productive by 13% [3]. What does this show? This shows simply that people are more productive, as well as learn more, in a more comfortable environment. This is contradictory to Pro’s assertions (No offence). Mine are study based.

Pro states, “On comfort, I concede homes are generally more comfortable, although friends can mitigate this discomfort...”
In this he fails to note that the same problem is encountered when in class, possibly even worse. (With distractions such as texting, doodling, daydreaming, and note-passing...The list is long.)

III. Cost

Pro proposes to debase private tutoring costs. This is equivalent to regulating the free market, which, however, is a totally different debate. Pro must show how debasing private tuition costs would actually help his case. Reducing private tuition costs would actually encourage students to get tutored, meaning that there would be less time for them to gain work experience and less time to sleep.

Furthermore, even were we to increase teachers pay, that would still not prevent the vast majority of them from wearing out, as I said in the previous round. Pro must address this pressing concern.

I wonder how an added 40 minutes of work is not increasing the workload. Sure, it is an assertion, but that does not at all address the fact that 70% of U.K. teachers spend all their nights preparing for lessons. This does away with any form of benefit that an added 40 minutes of time in school could have given.

IV. Mischief

I am unfortunately unable to reply to this point. This is because Pro has not broken down his statistics sufficiently. He does not give the time of day in which mischief is committed. If mischief is committed after 5pm, then his proposal has absolutely no effect. If the mischief is committed before 3, then it has no effect. Pro must show that mischief at 3-5pm would decrease under his model.

There is actually been an increase in violence in schools [4], which does not at all seem affected by Pro’s proposal.

V. Working

This point is directly related to my first. However, I do not at all understand how Pro’s proposal has any effect on summer vacation, unless he wants to eliminate it. If he does not, then there is no dispute there. Note that Pro’s proposal is in relation to the daily workings of the school system, not the vacations of it. I would request a clear link be made between this point and the resolution.

Conclusion

With that, I would like to conclude and await Logic’s no doubt fascinating final reply. I have shown that there are serious problems in his proposal, these he must solve or show that they are not in fact problems at all.

1. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com...; http://www.sciencedaily.com...
2. http://serendip.brynmawr.edu...
3.
http://www.stanford.edu...
4. http://www.fbi.gov...
Debate Round No. 3
Logic_on_rails

Pro

My thanks to Muted for his direct response, again. In this last round I’ll attempt to summarise my case, while also conducting rebuttals. Let’s not mince words though; to arguments.

School / Work Life


The proposal clearly adds 120 minutes to the school day. Con says “40 minutes lunch, 20 minutes ECA, and 40 minutes others” (that’s 100...) . This is incorrect. There’s 20 extra minutes of break implemented + 100 minutes of lessons; the existing 60 minutes of lunch / recess are reworked. Con’s math is incorrect here; see R1.

On classes, free time is elected. Remember, assuming the same amount of homework, the model allows students to have 20 minutes more free time that doesn’t have to be spent in school or doing homework as detailed in R3. That assists in freeing up time for students to work!

Con’s argues that students text in class. Guess what? There are more distractions in the household to distract one from schoolwork – TV, Internet etc. Plus, no supervising authority. Children spend more time watching TV than learning in school! [1] A child, on average, watches 1480 minutes of TV a week. Tell me there’s no time wasting there. That far outweighs time wastage by texting. “The average person spends about half of their free time (about 2.8 hours a day to be exact) watching TV” [2]School is not the fear here.

Sleep deprivation is not a point for Con’s case unless available free time outside school decreases. My model increases that time by 20 minutes. Hence, sleep deprivation is reduced under my model.

I concur with Con’s experience; I have worked as well. Anyway, the total time spent on school related work can be decreased by 20 minutes, so, over the entire week, the available time to work is increased. Granted, the time on any individual day may be somewhat reduced, but given homework... the effects of sleep deprivation kick in.

Of course, considering Muted is familiar with a 7:30-6:00pm secondary system (as per his R3 intro) I find it rather ironic that he’s attacking my model for eliminating time to work.

Memory Retention


I’ve already talked in depth about how school timetabling forces spaced presentation to occur which is beneficial. Con doesn’t deny this. His counter is that technology ‘can ’ induce the spacing effect, by voluntary free will of course. Also, on this choice I demonstrated in R3 that students have an incentive to do homework in clumps as massed presentation will assist them as they continue working! In essence, there are good reasons to suggest that students will do massed presentation at home.

Furthermore, as my source indicated last round, the DET in NSW has rolled out laptops to all year 9 students in public schools. Technology is a wash between models. However, my model increases teacher instruction and all it’s associated benefits. More later.

Con’s next states that work is more akin to work than school is. Obviously I agree, but most time outside school isn’t spent on work! Most youth don’t even work at all; 69.3%[3] Many aren’t of age. The question is then whether school is more akin to work than the home environment. It is, as demonstrated previously, which as per the encoding specificity principle is beneficial for memory retention.

Of course, Con hasn’t demonstrated how more time is available for work in the first place, so his counter is moot. (see above point) I’ve demonstrated how state and context dependent cues occur more frequently under my model.

On productivity at home, I counter Con’s study. In a survey of over 5000 workers it was found that 17% of telecommuters worked less than an hour a hour, and 37-40% (see the sources) stated they were more productive at the office vs. 29% reporting more work being done at home. [4] [5] This survey was conducted by the largest online employment agency in the USA, CareerBuilder.

Finally, Con’s study refers to workers who must need money to survive. Children tend to lack discipline and don’t have the need for money to pay the rent. Their lack of incentive to work at home vis-a-vis distractions, limits the impact of Con’s study.

Cost / Teacher Workload


I withdraw my point on debasing private tutoring costs; the point is irrelevant, as Con notes. Con fails to counter my points about the streamlining of public transport through more efficient use of transport – students + workers are all catching the same transport, reducing inefficiencies and meaning buses are more likely to run for remote areas (saving students time walking home / parents having to pick them up, leading to longer working hours for parents) and the associated benefits, as well as reduced daycare costs for parents. The State and parents benefit. Those are un-countered points.

Teachers aren’t working longer – the extended school day is a substitute for marking homework – 95 minutes a day are spent on things other than instruction, as Con noted in R2. In fact, through the spacing effect and better memory retention teachers can spend less time re-explaining things as students remember better. Net time save.

Social Mischief


Youth commit a disproportionate amount of crime (see R2). Why? A disproportionate amount of free time and hormones at work. A school environment has been effective in lowering harmful drug use (see R2). Furthermore, if students were to commit crimes when they should be doing homework then moving them into school increases the chance they’ll do the homework vs. the distractions of unallocated time. Authority and supervision, both found in schools, deter crime.

Furthermore, homework is known to causes familial discord (read: arguments in the home), typically in about 1/3 of families. [6] [7] In fact:

“As a solution, the report suggests that "homework clubs", taking place after school, would be a successful way of getting the benefit of homework, without risking the disagreements associated with homework at home.” [7]

Does that sound like my proposal of moving homework into schooltime? I think so.

Working Mindset / Lack of Agrarian Workforce


I’ve discussed timing in school and work life.

However, as stressed there, so much free time is wasted by youth. Bringing students to school instills a work ethic, reduces social discord and increases familial harmony (see social mischief), as opposed to time wastage at home. Now not everybody wastes free time, but many youth do waste time; see statistics from earlier.

Teacher Instruction


Con can’t counter the benefits of actual teacher instruction.

A student at school will seek guidance from a teacher when stuck on homework, eliminating time wastage through being unsure on how to proceed on a question. They will have greater difficulty copying answers due to teacher supervision. They will be pushed to perform optimally not just by the teacher, but by peers – iron sharpens iron.

Conclusion


More free time, better memory retention, cost savings, lessened social mischief, just to name a few benefits.

Readers, you know the complete case I’ve laid out. I hope you’ll agree that we ought to at least trial this model, if not implement it on a larger scale. I urge you to reread parts if need be.

Readers, please vote based on this debate alone; this is an issue that I wish preconceptions not to bias. I thank you for your attention throughout.

Finally, my thanks to Muted for a fierce, spirited debate throughout. I’m sure we both learnt a fair bit throughout the debate!

Sources

1 - http://www.statisticbrain.com...

2 - http://ideas.thenest.com...

3 - http://www.abs.gov.au...

4 - http://www.businessnewsdaily.com...

5 - http://www.shrm.org...

6 - http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk...

7 - http://www.timesofmalta.com...

Muted

Con

Let us go straight to the arguments.

I. Life

For the rest of this debate, aka. this round, let us assume that my math was incorrect. Let us assume now that there are 100 minutes of lessons and 20 minutes of break. This was not clear at the beginning. It must have been a brain block on my part. Notice that pro has not in the least addressed the dilemma I created. In it I showed that teachers would have to teach twice as much if half the class elected to take their 40 minutes free time (As presented by Pro) in the morning and the other half in the evening. This would create added work on the teachers. Unintended by Pro’s model, maybe, but present nonetheless.

According to Pro, his model actually increases free time outside school. This is weird. There is only 24 hours to a day. Let us assume that the current school time is 9-3, his proposal would be an effective of 9-2:40. However, as stated in his resolution, the model proposes a 9-5 schedule. If he wishes for students to come and go throughout the day with small snatches of time, this would mean small portions of time with no adult supervision at all, aka. time which can be spent committing minor crimes.

As far as my experience goes, no company would employ any workers for short snatches of time before seeing them head back to school or something like that. Thus, unless pro meant a reduce homework, reduce school time in his resolution, this model is absolutely impossible to implement for just these two reasons alone.

Unless Pro wishes to stay up past midnight doing homework and getting up at 5:30 the next morning to go to school, I suggest not implementing the particular model in which I am familiar with.

II. Memory retention

Pro has unfortunately continued to ignore the counter-proposal I made in the previous two rounds. Digitalize homework. This is already happening in many places, as I found out through personal experience.

Unless Pro wishes for the model to change somewhat when students come of working age, his counter to my points about working is mute (:D). As I showed in the previous point, increasing net free time is not effective unless those free time comes in large blocks, which as far as I understand Pro’s model, is not part of.

It would seem that our two studies contradict. However, although Pro’s opinion poll was from CareerBuilder, mine was from Stanford. It is up to the reader to determine whose is the more reliable.

The whole point of my citing the study, I thought I clearly linked the two, is that as workers are more productive at home, it must be because they have better memory recall. Note that I have as such turned Pro’s quotation against him, showing that people are more productive at home, aka. remember more, than at work. This also ties in with the conceded point about comfort. All these factors argue strongly against Pro’s model.

The fact that most school students do not work is a testament to short-sightedness and lack of life-planning.

III. Cost

Even were we to concede all of Pro’s points here, they will still not increase the quality of learning. In fact, my point regarding teachers working all-nighters have not been addressed. How does spending 95 minutes at school accomplish what is done in one night? It does not. Not in the least. Should I extend arguments here?

IV. Social Mischief

My opponent has not shown that crimes are committed disproportionately between 3-5pm. Even if we forced students to complete their homework in school (Negating the whole purpose of homework), you can only keep them in school for so long. Let us assume that we release students from schools at 5pm. Not only does students who have completed their homework have absolutely no motivation to do anything, as pro noted, not even work. This would increase the motivation, brought on by boredom, to commit crimes, reversing any benefit intended by Pro’s model.

If, on the other hand, more net free time is given in which no homework needs to be done, like as I noted above, not only would companies not hire such students, they would actually be motivated by boredom to commit crimes.

V. Mindset

All counters have been adequately addressed for this point in other points. The net effect would not be beneficial, rather, destructive to students.

VI. Teacher Instruction

As I clearly showed in the earlier round, this is merely an assertion. From personal experience, I know that even though I self-studied for much of my high-school equivalent syllabus, I still outperform the average high-schooler who have the “advantage” of live teachers. This also is an assertion, but is one that at least is backed by my own experience. Iron only sharpens iron if both iron are as hard as each other. Have you seen katanas cut through long swords?

Conclusion

So it can be clearly seen that teacher instruction is not a requirement for memory retention, mindsets are the result of nurture, which is impossible to implement for varied reasons I mentioned above, the cost of health for teachers would be catastrophic, unless one increases drastically the number of teachers. Life and memory retention would not benefit from this change in school schedule.

In regards to voting, note everything Logic has said.

With that, I would like to thank Logic for a thought-provoking debate. I have certainly learned not a few things.
Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Muted 3 years ago
Muted
i'm sorry. I don't get you. Homework being assigned daily rather than less frequently?

As long as homework is assigned in a bulk, you'd have to expect massed learning. There is no other alternative, as far as i can see.
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
Muted, yes you said it "utilizes" the s[acing effect. It was a little ambiguous. The way Logic interpreted it was that it made spacing voluntary and went on to argue that *forcing* the spacing effect was important and made it a big part of his argument. You never responded that yes, technology can force the spacing effect too.

As a matter of interest, (I was discussing this with Logic before), did you consider arguing that spacing can be negated simply by assigning homework daily as opposed to less frequently? I'd like to hear your thoughts. It is an interesting subject and you put forth some compelling arguments.
Posted by Muted 3 years ago
Muted
That was being fair, that's all.
Posted by Hemanth_Nambiar 3 years ago
Hemanth_Nambiar
Fine. As u wish
Posted by Muted 3 years ago
Muted
You should make it a 6-1, to be honest, then the total would be 6-5.
Posted by Hemanth_Nambiar 3 years ago
Hemanth_Nambiar
Oh, wait a minute, Ive had a counter vote here... I might as well as make it 5 2 to counter that. Sorry for the inconvenience yet again, guys.
Posted by Hemanth_Nambiar 3 years ago
Hemanth_Nambiar
Oh, wait a minute, Ive had a counter vote here... I might as well as make it 5 2 to counter that. Sorry for the inconvenience yet again, guys.
Posted by Hemanth_Nambiar 3 years ago
Hemanth_Nambiar
Oh, damn..I'm so sorry muted. My actual vote was 3 2 in pro's favour. However, I happen to be new to voting on debates and was under the impression dat a vote once cast cannot be changed, so I decided to experiment. So sorry, man.
Posted by Muted 3 years ago
Muted
F-16, I actually did do just that. "My point rests on the fact that technology can implement this without the need of a human teacher" Granted, it was not clear.
The next round, though, I mentioned, "An increase in technology means that exercises can be digital and formatted in such a way that it utilizes the spacing effect."

I generally agree with all your other points. :D

Thanks for voting!
Posted by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
RFD (Part 3):

The other points weren't very strong compared to the ones already discussed. Reduction in mischief - neither side showed compelling evidence. Pro argues that students spend time supervised which reduces their mischief while con argues that they have time after school and during commute to do mischief anyways.

Con says that peak hours for work are between 5-10 while Pro argues that available free time outside of school doesn't decrease. I'll give an edge to Con on this one since Pro never really went after the peak hours argument.

In summary, I think Pro had overall stronger arguments like the school environment being a better environment for learning. The retention point was good too and Con doesn't refute it well enough although he could have and instead argues that the cost of teacher's time outweighs. However, Pro adequately refutes this by showing that teachers don't need to correct HW so it negates Con's point of teachers having to stay up all night. With Con's rebuttal to spacing invested in the cost point, negating the cost point gives the spacing point to Pro as well.

Great job on both sides. I enjoyed reading. Logic has a uncanny way of getting me to spend a ton of time (a couple of hours) reading his debates. I think Muted did a wonderful job too but could have done better attacking a few key points which swung it in Pro's favor.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Ron-Paul 3 years ago
Ron-Paul
Logic_on_railsMutedTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments. Pro won this debate, but I'll refrain from fully voting because I'm too tired to write a fully adequate RFD and I don't want to leave my vote hanging.
Vote Placed by Hemanth_Nambiar 3 years ago
Hemanth_Nambiar
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Reasons for voting decision: I think you might consider this to an equitable distribution of points. Fabulous debate, guys.However, I think pro won it by the skin of his teeth. Please do not go by the points, I'm doing it to negate a counter vote by John Lubba. The actual distribution should have been 3-2.
Vote Placed by johnlubba 3 years ago
johnlubba
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Reasons for voting decision: Contering Hemanths vote, 3 point margin awarded upon requset by logical on rails in the comments. It's ony fair. In the least.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 3 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
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Reasons for voting decision: Comments
Vote Placed by imabench 3 years ago
imabench
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Reasons for voting decision: countering utah
Vote Placed by utahjoker 3 years ago
utahjoker
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Reasons for voting decision: gfdgfvsafsafsadf
Vote Placed by TheElderScroll 3 years ago
TheElderScroll
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Reasons for voting decision: Please refer to "Comments" for details