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The Homework Plague

By R. Brady

It’s Sunday night, and all you want to do is dive into your bed. But just as you pull the blanket over your shoulders, you remember all the homework due the next day. With an essay, some worksheets, and a math test, it looks like you won’t be able to crash until around one o’clock in the morning.

Students experience these kind of late homework nights far too often. It seems that teachers assign homework just because they feel that it is necessary for every class. However, many studies have shown that homework doesn’t help students despite the large amount of importance that schools have placed on it. Spending hours and hours on assignments reduces sleep and can negatively affects students’ performance in class. Also, lack of enjoyment of homework makes learning seem forced and adverse. Though homework may get work done that can’t be completed in class, the inconveniences largely outweigh the benefits.

Sleep is a big problem when it comes to students. It is not rare that I overhear conversations around school of students bragging about who got less sleep or who stayed up later studying. It may seem impressive to win the sleep-off with a whopping four hours of sleep, but studying instead of sleeping leads to worse test scores. Also, sleepy students are less focused. I have found that when I am tired, I leave class not remembering a single thing the teacher said. Homework and studying brings stress and they don’t improve grades because when students are tired, they perform poorly.

Those who think that homework is beneficial argue that less will be accomplished in school if there isn’t work outside of class. This may be true, but I would prefer having less homework and learning less in the year while still preserving the quality of education. In my opinion, it’s more important to understand the lesser amount of information learned than to memorize every definition and formula that will likely be forgotten later. Another argument is that it prepares students for the future. This is reasonable, which is why I think that the homework load should vary for each grade level. For example, elementary students would receive little to no homework, while high schoolers would receive a balanced and reasonable amount of homework each night.

There’s no perfect answer to this controversy. The debate has lasted for decades, and we may never come to one conclusion. However, my request for teachers is to try to cut down on the homework load. Sometimes, students need sleep more than the extra practice that homework provides.

About Katherine Han

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