Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Homework Kills Education for Kids

Homework Kills Education For Kids

Imagine a world where kids spend all their time at home, never having free time to do what they want, and always waiting for the weekend. Well, that’s what is happening in America today, with kids always inside, completely dedicating all of their time to homework, just to keep their grade afloat. We should have less homework because homework causes kids to slack off and to have health problems, and more homework isn’t equaling smarter kids.

Picture
(Student being surrounded by his massive amount of homework. Source.)

Japan and Taiwan both have the highest test scores in the world, and how many schools in these countries have 4+ hours of homework? For Japan it is 1% and for Taiwan it is 3%. In the U.S, about 10% of its schools have more than 4 hours of homework, and it ranks below average in the world. (Source 2.) In Japan, most teachers rarely give more than 30 minutes of homework, and the students are outperforming American students in every subject. Japanese students also are not nearly as stressed as the typical American student. (Source 3.)

In tests conducted by Gerald LeTendre, professor of educational theory and policy at Penn State, and Motoko Akiba, faculty member at the University of Missouri–Columbia, in 18 different nations, they found that the amount of homework assigned to American students isn’t giving any boosts in test scores, except for infinitesimal boost in middle school, and actually are producing worse test scores from students. (Source 2.)

Another test conducted by some Australian researchers confirms the same findings: more homework does not equal higher test scores. (Source 4.)

            Homework is also causing health problems in students, the biggest problem being stress. Stress is felt by students everywhere today. Whether it results from family or school matters, it is always there. We can help American students overcome some of that school stress by cutting down the amount of homework given to kids. At most American schools, kids are given 2 hours of homework per night. If we just cut half of that away, we can relieve tons of stress. (Source 4.)

            It is important to lessen stress felt by students because its effects are quite harmful. Stress can act like a cold or cause even more complicated problems, such as intestinal pain or headaches. In a test taken from 10 high schools in 1999, it was determined that 56% of the kids had sleep deprivation or other symptoms from stress. (Source 6.) Sleep deprivation is a serious problem that impedes kids learning and functioning speed because, well, you're tired all the time. So, if homework is doing that, we know it is bad. Also in a test taken by American Psychological Association, it was proven that 45% of kids suffered from to0 much stress, and in all of these cases, school was shown to be the cause. (Source 7.) If we can just lower the amount of homework nationwide, we could lessen stress and its harmful effects on kids.

(This shows how much sleep the tested kids are getting on average. Source)
            My third argument about why we should lower the amount of homework we have is because homework is causing too many kids to drop out of school. After reviewing my sources, I can say confidently that homework is causing kids to just not care about school or their grades. Lots of smart students who do better than straight A students on standardized testing are failing out of school because they just don’t have time to do homework. (Source 8.) The rate of students in the U.S. who have dropped out of school is rising. And, because people are dropping out so often, the U.S. has decided to make commercials saying, “Stay in school kids,” but it has not helped the problem.

            Many teachers, like our own Mr. Townsend, have actually seen the flaw in homework, and now don’t give it to their students. An article I read said this, “...The average educator was taught in her pre-service days that homework is a part of every teacher’s instructional handbag. You lecture, model, assign a worksheet and follow that up with homework….” (Source 6.) But this teacher later discovered when you assign homework it doesn’t really help the kids learn the subject, more often than not it actually hurts the kids’ grades. (Source 6.) Also in that test by Australian teachers, homework was causing depression, which caused the kids to slack off. (Source 4.) So if we just lowered the amount of homework given or how many points it is worth, we could save lots of smart kids from dropping out of school.

            Many parents think that homework teaches responsibility, and helps them with their grades, but this is not true, homework doesn’t really teach responsibility. Even though there is no evidence that it actually makes kids more responsible, parents still want to believe in that idea. (Source 9.)

It teaches them to obey their teachers, but does turning kids into obedient slaves really equal responsibility? In the 10th article I credited, the author wrote about how homework doesn’t teach responsibility, but obedience. Because when you tell a student “I want these pages done by tomorrow,” does it really teach kids to be responsible and manage their time correctly with room for homework and play? The author said no and I agree. This is because just telling somebody to do something is not going to make them become responsible. Rather, it is just going to make them obey you, and do whatever you say. It does not force them to learn how to organize their time. (Source 10).


(Student being crushed under weight of his homework. Source)

Now imagine a world where kids learn responsibility, have balance between work and play, reduced stress levels, and actually enjoy school. This is what America could be if the amount of homework that students have is reduced. I know that lowering or eliminating homework can help make that fantasy true, because homework causes lots of stress/health problems, kids to drop out of school, and it actually lowers kids test scores.


Sources

Bibliography
1.       Kohn, Alfie. "The Value of Homework Needs Further Research." Do Students Have Too Much Homework? Ed. Judeen Bartos. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. At Issue. Rpt. from "Studies Support Rewards, Homework, and Traditional Teaching. Or Do They?" alfiekohn.org. 2011. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 28 Apr. 2015.
2.      Penn State Live. "Global Homework Practices Do Not Always Correlate with Performance." Do Students Have Too Much Homework? Ed. Judeen Bartos. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. At Issue. Rpt. from "Benefits of More Homework Vary Across Nations, Grades." 2007. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
3.       “Do Kids Have Too Much Homework?” Smithsonian. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2015. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/do-kids-have-too-much-homework-55452207/?no-ist>
4.       “Too Much Homework Can Cause Stress, Depression and Lower Grades, Studies Suggest - Factual Facts: Interesting Facts, Fun Facts and Weird Facts.” Factual Facts Interesting Facts Fun Facts and Weird Facts. N.p., Aug. 2013. Web. 20 May 2015. http://factualfacts.com/science-facts/too-much-homework-can-cause-stress-depression-and-lower-grades-studies-suggest/
5.      “Learning Diversity.” Learning Diversity. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2015. http://www.learningdiversity.org/2013/02/is-homework-redundant/
6.      “Homework: It Fails Our Students and Undermines American Education.” SmartBlogs. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2015. http://smartblogs.com/education/2012/11/13/homework-it-fails-students-undermines-american-education-mark-barnes/
7.      “School Stress Takes A Toll On Health, Teens And Parents Say.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 20 May 2015. http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2013/12/02/246599742/school-stress-takes-a-toll-on-health-teens-and-parents-say
8.      “Homework And Grades.” educationrealist. N.p., Jun. 2012. Web. 20 May 2015. https://educationrealist.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/homework-and-grades/
9.      “Why Homework Is Actually Good For Kids.” - Memphis Parent. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2015. <http://www.memphisparent.com/memphis-parent/january-2012/why-homework-is-actually-good-for-kids/>

10.   “Membership.” The Cult(ure) of Homework. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 May 2015. http://www.ascd.org/publications/books/108071/chapters/the-cult(ure)-of-homework.aspx

Monday, May 4, 2015

My Grandma, and Her Jobs

Today, I interviewed my Grandmother (or as I call her, Grandma) about her career teaching handicapped children. These children are hard to teach, but my Grandma prevailed. While we talked, I was sitting at my counter, near the edge of my kitchen. The interview started around 11:02, and it went on for 26 minutes. It was light with sun streaming through the windows. My counter is made of marble supported by wood. My Grandma was also in her kitchen but in San Diego. She was in a sunlit room at a small old wooden table. When I called, she was pondering when she was going to do the dishes.
My Grandma is short, I am taller than her, and she has a wrinkly kind face, with blue eyes, and brown hair. She always wears one jacket inside, and another one when she goes outside. When she visits from San Diego, she likes to either talk or read the newspaper. She has an old, small voice that is kind. She is also very patient, and rarely gets angry (but I’m told she does get angry). When I called, she was happy to hear from me. Soon after I started asking questions, I was overloaded with answers, and I ran out of room on my paper. (That is why I only focus on her jobs.)
The first question I asked was, “What jobs have you had?” The first job my Grandma had was teaching kids who were hard of hearing. She taught them things like sign language and school subjects, such as English, and she started in 1964. She started teaching in Pittsburgh, where she taught kids from kindergarten to 8th grade, who had hearing and speech problems. My Grandma said that, “they both learned from each other.” She taught them school subjects, and they taught her sign language. Grandma also taught kids to read lips, so they wouldn’t need sign language to communicate with people who didn’t have hearing problems. She then moved with my Grandpa to Cleveland and taught there, and also earned her master’s degree in teaching.
The third job my Grandma had was teaching kids with severe disabilities, such as kids who were paralyzed or were born with Down syndrome. She said that, “working with these kids was fun and challenging, but when they got through barriers it was just wonderful.” My Grandma taught them basic words, even though they were 8-12, because of their disabilities they did not know how to talk. This job was in a town called San Bernardino. From there they moved to Houghton, Michigan where she did the same stuff, and had her first child (my Dad). In Houghton, my Grandma started visiting the houses of the parents with disabled children, and taught them how to help them with their child’s education. After ten years, she and my grandpa moved to San Diego, and she became the Head of Special Education for the San Diego School District. Finally, in the June 2004 (two years after I was born), my Grandma retired with 40 years of teaching behind her. (She now just lectures me on proper English.)
I asked my Grandma what she has learned over her 40 years of teaching, and she said “You can teach anyone, with patience.”
So this is my Grandma, and how she helped kids with disabilities. As I interviewed my Grandma, I realized that she is awesome and is an amazing person for teaching kids with difficult problems for 40 years!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The 2nd Great Hunt

In the world of the Wheel of Time, there is a horn that can resurrect the dead heroes of the past, and in book three there are lots of people after it. But first, a little history about the horn, the horn can be blown by anyone (even Trollucs), and once they blow it, only they can use the horn to summon dead heroes. Mat is currently bound to the horn, because he blew it when Rand, Perrin, and he fought the Senchian army. After the battle, the horn was "lost," and now many people are becoming hunters of the horn. One of these Hunters, Zarine, is following Perrin and his crew (against Perrin's wishes) because she thinks that they will lead her to the horn. Zarine plus everyone else who wants to become hunters have to take an oath, saying they won't interfere or kill fellow hunters of the horn. This is just a brief explanation of The 2nd Great Hunt.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Ogier

Although an Ogier sounds like a big, scary, meat-eating monster, in the Wheel of Time world, an Ogier is a giant, sort of ugly, mason. They are tree-huggers, who live in magical forests called Steddings, and dedicate their lives to knowledge and keeping the Trees of Life alive (and they have extremely long lives, some live to 800 years old). One the Ogiers that we have met, Liol, is traveling with Rand, Egwene, Mat, Perrin, etc. If an Ogier stays out of a Stedding too long, he dies; luckily for Liol, this only happens after extremely long periods of time. Liol is a runaway from his Stedding, and always has a book at arm’s reach. Even though not a lot is known about Ogier life, Liol told our protagonists that if a girl Ogier likes a boy, she tells her Mom. If the Mom likes the boy too, then she arranges a wedding with the other Ogier Mother, and the boy can never protest. Many Aes Sedia don't like Steddings because going into a Stedding separates them from the One Power. Ogiers are master stone masons. Their work, which is more than a thousand years old, is still marveled at by all. The center of most major cities in the Wheel of Time were made by the Ogier masons.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Aeil

There are many different people in the lands of The Wheel of Time, among these different cultures are the Aeil. The Aeil are similar to barbarians, but they are civilized and the women fight as well. The land the Aeil live in is called The Three-Folds Land, which has basically no water. They only live here because in the lore of the Aeil, it is said that they had once worked for Aes Sedia, and had done a great sin so unforgivable they were banished to The Three-Fold Land. Although they are mostly disrespected by all other people, they are respected for one thing, and that is fighting. The Aeil are so good at it that a single one could kill twenty armored men, unarmed! Even men fear the Aeil fighting women, or Maidens of the Spear, who are just as deadly as the men. This is just a small summary of Aeil life in The Three-Folds Land.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Journey to Tear

Today, I read about Rand’s journey to Tear (the first part of it anyway). Rand left suddenly for Tear, which is a fortress that will not fall until The Dragon (also known as Rand) proclaims himself. Rand went on this journey because of a dream about the “untouchable sword” that is in...you guessed it, Tear! This is an expected journey for Rand because when someone wields the untouchable sword, it will proclaim them the Dragon! After Rand left, Moiraine took Perrin, Liol (a runaway Ogier) and her Warder named Lan to find Rand at Tear.

Rand is Ta'veren, so he bends other people’s lives, but now when he passes through a village, strange things occur. Such as, in the first village Rand encountered, every girl started demanding marriage with someone, even if they're old enough to be their Grandfather. In the second village, everything burned to the ground, and all the wells dried up. This is just a taste of what will happen on the journey to Tear.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spies

Today, I read about the Amyrlin Seat (leader of the Aes Sedai), who had just assigned Egwene and Nyneave to the task of rooting out any Black Aes Sedia. They acquired the trust of the Amyrlin Seat because a member of the Black Ajah tried to collar them (once you are "collared" you can be controlled by those who channel), which told the Amyrlin Seat that they weren't Black Aes Sedia. Though because they technically "ran" away, Egwene, Nyneave, and Elyaine (the next queen of Andor) were punished and forced to scrub pots until further notice; they must be paddled by the Mistress of Novices. This is where we find Egwene, Elyaine, and Nyneave right now.