Homework is not addressed explicitly by any national act or policy. This makes it even more important that this matter be properly addressed by the school’s policy.
- WCED Circular 0045/2005 does address this matter and states, “It is recommended that each school develop a homework policy …” [Reference B9 0045/2005]
- What is homework?
Homework involves tasks given by teachers to learners to be done out of class as an extension of classroom work.
- The legitimacy of homework
Giving learners homework is educationally accountable in that it provides an opportunity for learners to increasingly work on their own in accordance with their gradually developing learning abilities. No cases of departments discouraging homework could be found when this document was prepared.
- The purpose of homework
The purpose of homework includes the following:
- To develop the learners’ ability to work independently.
- To complement and reinforce learning that has taken place in the classroom (the focus therefore shifts to application of what has been learnt).
- To create an opportunity for the teacher to assess the learners’ progress and to identify aspects that need further attention.
- To strengthen the link between home and school by creating an opportunity for parents to become involved in their children’s education.
- To inculcate self-discipline in the use of leisure time.
- To inculcate good study habits.
- To foster good life-long learning and study habits.
- Considerations when formulating school policy on homework
- Homework should encourage or even compel the learner to think about and apply what he/she has learned in the classroom (completion of worksheets should be avoided).
- Formulating the homework tasks should be approached as an assessment activity.
- The tasks should be at the appropriate level and should challenge the learners in a positive way rather than discourage them.
- The circumstances of the learners must be taken into account when planning homework instructions (extra-curricular activities, home responsibilities and circumstances at home).
- The involvement of parents should be managed as far as possible, e.g. by requesting the parent’s signature, comments, views, etc.
- School policy should provide guidelines on the amount of homework to be given. In the Foundation Phase the time in total should not exceed 30 minutes and in Gr 12 not 180 minutes, with the other grades on a sliding scale between the two.