Is homework an important part of your child’s education?

As new paradigm shifts take place throughout the institution of education, one decades-old debate rages on among parents, teachers, and even students themselves: Is homework beneficial in schooling, or is it a relic of a bygone era that desperately needs change?

As new paradigm shifts take place throughout the institution of education, one decades-old debate rages on among parents, teachers, and even students themselves: Is homework beneficial in schooling, or is it a relic of a bygone era that desperately needs change?

How homework can be detrimental

Those who believe that homework should be banned point to the fact that it eats into a child’s leisure hours, or contributes to burnout for students especially after a full day of both schoolwork and extracurricular activities, such as music, drama or sports. Others also note that with the rising mental health crisis among young people, abolishing or greatly reducing homework may be one of the solutions to alleviate the stress and help fight the epidemic.

Clinical child psychologist Dr. Nicole Beurkens said in a recent interview, “Homework often sets up a dynamic of conflict between parents and children, which can take over the time they have to spend together on school days. Parents feel it is their duty to get kids to do their homework, and many will go to great lengths to accomplish this, even if it means sacrificing their relationship and precious time with the children in the evenings.”

And there’s no denying the importance of play to children. Dr. Denise Pope Clark, a professor at Stanford and author of two books about stress in school, says, “Kids need time for free, unstructured play everyday. It’s a protective factor for them. It’s important for their future development.”

The advantages of homework

However, homework also has its undeniable advantages, which extend far beyond just increasing the time a child spends on a lesson.

Independence and discipline

For one, in contrast to their highly structured classroom hours, a child will do homework in their own time. This develops critical time management habits that will be essential to later studies and even in the workplace. Students also become more disciplined and more organized, as they must rely on their own skills to complete homework in time. Ultimately, these skills develop into a greater sense of independence.

Enhancement of education

In addition, homework is a great way to reinforce the learning done in the classroom, allowing children to see their daily lessons from another perspective and keeping the understanding fresh, even after they’ve left the classroom and had their fill of daily fun and extracurriculars. When used properly, homework may also enhance the process of inquiry, and the conceptual understanding of any subject.

Quality homework

Swiss International School Dubai believes that these advantages are essential to a child’s development at all levels of education. However, it’s also important to note that homework shouldn’t be done just for homework’s sake. Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai develops homework in meaningful ways that allow for the advantages of discipline and education enhancement, while also contributing to other areas of development.

The school educates students through the International Baccalaureate curriculum, emphasizing the importance of connecting classroom learnings to the real world. Such homework, as well as other projects that are taken home such as the Creativity, Activity, Service projects, give students enough time to work outside the classroom and help synthesize what they’ve learned.

In addition, the Swiss International School in Dubai offers two bilingual teaching programmes in English/German or French/German bilingual streams. As a result, students are also given bilingual reading tasks and vocabulary words that are appropriate for their respective levels in each language.

How strong feedback can improve homework

In Primary School, students make use of a Learning Journal that helps teachers keep track of student learning, as well as for both them and parents to provide feedback and encouragement to students. Once in Secondary School, the focus of homework at SISD is for students to be able to consolidate learning in the classroom. At any time, if a student encounters difficulty with homework, they are encouraged to consult with their parents and teachers to receive help. That said, with the goal being student agency, parents shouldn’t be helping their kids out directly with homework, but rather should ensure that they have a proper working environment.

Through this approach to homework, Swiss International School Dubai recognizes its advantages and ensures that students gain the greatest benefits. However, it also does recognize the aforementioned disadvantages, and always strives to give students their leisure time, through limiting the amount of homework that a student should be performing every week. In addition, as a boarding school, SISD offers a variety of elite facilities and opportunities for students that they’re encouraged to use outside of classroom hours, so that life isn’t just about learning for the curriculum’s sake.


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