Homework that really works

Mini Joseph

“I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework.” – Lily Tomlin

This is exactly the kind of teacher I would appreciate because he or she would enable the student to think creatively and critically beyond the textbook, in other words ‘beyond chalk and talk.’

It is a fact that homework is a vital link between home and school. Teachers give homework to help children understand and review class work. Parents find out what their child is studying by being involved in homework. However, it is unfortunate that the dividing line between a child’s involvement in the homework and the adult’s involvement in the child’s homework is fast disappearing. Today, as in the last three decades or so, in most cases it is the adult who helps a child out with almost 80 per cent of his/her homework. This is true in developing Asian countries such as in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, China, Malaysia and others.

Homework help comes in many forms. Finding the right kind of help will depend on one’s child’s needs, schedule and the budget . However, in most Asian countries, neither the child nor the parents have the right to choose the homework appropriate for the child. Despite the fact that educationists are leaning towards progressive education, where the child’s needs are the focus, parents, teachers and children are in a dilemma when it comes to choosing the right kind of English homework.

Actually, there is no ideal kind of English homework. All written and reference work done at home is absolutely okay if it suits the child’s needs. Nevertheless, I will provide a few suggestions.

The author is a teacher of English at St. Xavier’s Collegiate School, Kolkata. She can be reached at minijosep@rediffmail.com.

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