Home Blog Who Invented Homework? 6 Fun Facts About Homework

Homework and Exams are undeniably two of the biggest spoilsports in the vibrant school and college days. For a long time a fierce debate has ensued between students and teachers regarding exams and assignments. It even led to homework being banned in America for a brief period of time. Surprised? Well there are many more homework facts which will leave you astonished. Read on and enjoy exploring the history of the culprit behind your sleepless nights.

Who invented Homework?

Let’s begin by uncovering the homework inventor. The person every student is looking for. So, according to popular theories homework was invented by an educator called Roberto Nevelis. However, there is no exact evidence for this information. Several sources have linked the origins of homework back to Greek periods and some have held Horace Mann as the inventor of homework.

It is believed that Roman orator Pliny asked students to practise public speaking at home. Coming to Horace Mann, he was a politician and educational reformer in Germany. He emphasized on compulsory public education as a means to strengthen the newly unified state of Germany. Assignments were made mandatory for pupils at public schools. The larger motive behind it, as stated by sources, was to establish the nation's power over individuals.

Now that you have got to know the makers of home assignments, it's the time to explore some cool and funny facts about homework. Try not to smile!

Some Facts About Homework:

  • Homework was banned for 17 years in California -from 1901 to 1917- considering it as detrimental to students' health.
  • In 1930, an organization known as the American Child Health Association declared that homework was a type of child labor
  • During the cold war era, US promoted homework to ensure that American students don’t fall behind their Russian counterparts.
  • Several books have been published arguing against the notion of giving homework -
  • ‘The End of Homework: How Homework Disrupts Families, Overburdens Children, and Limits Learning’ by education professor Dr. Etta Kralovec and journalist John Buell (2000)
  • ‘The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It’ by Sarah Bennett and Nancy Kalish (2006)
  • ‘The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents’ (Third Edition) by Duke University psychologist Dr. Harris Cooper (2007)
  • A study by Stanford University found that 56% of students see homework as their primary source of stress.
  • A source has stated that 73% of parents admit that homework is the most common cause of family arguments

Do you also want to know the reasons behind creating this additional task for students? Read on.

Why was homework invented?

The initial intentions behind assigning homework for students were quite progressive. However, with time the concept lost its essence and currently it is again under a controversy. Let’s understand the motives for initiating assignments.

1. Practice

It was found that students seldom practise what has been taught in class hours outside the classroom. That is why the system of allotting home assignments was started. It encouraged the habit of practising that in turn helped in better learning and understanding of concepts.

2. Retention

Another side effect of the lack of practice was that students mostly forgot what was taught in the previous class by the time of the next lecture. Doing homework firmly established the learnings of the class in children’s minds and improved retention until the next class.

3. Reinforces learning

Giving home tasks aids with revision of lessons. It backs the classwork and strengthens the foundation. Good assignments also allow further exploration of concepts and expand the knowledge horizons of students.

4. Help in achieving good grades

Researchers have found out that students who practice classwork at home for 1-2 hours achieve higher grades than those who don’t. The simple reason is that reworking on what is done in class cements the understanding of theories and helps with retention.

5. Self-motivated learning

One of the important advantages of assignments is that it instigates students to become responsible in their academics. It was assumed that the problems of time constraints and limited personal attention were solved if students were inspired to learn on their own and get better at studies.

These reasons hold true as strong advantages of homework even in the present times. However, students and parents have also had their fair share of say against the practice of giving home assignments.

Drawbacks of homework:

1. Causes stress and anxiety in students

Students have repeatedly complained of homework becoming an additional burden resulting in increased stress and anxiety. The high difficulty level of assignments lead to the development of self-doubts in students and lower their morale. Besides unrealistic time periods allotted for assignments give rise to frustration and hopelessness in children.

2. Has become a medium for teachers to avert their responsibility

It has been observed and brought to notice by parents that homework often becomes a scapegoat for teachers who complete a limited amount of classwork in school time and give large chunks of syllabus for self study. It lowers the quality of education and leaves students in lurch.

3. Inhibits development of other skills

As home tasks eat up a lot of children's time, they do not get a chance to explore their hidden talents and learn other skills like sports or creative arts. Taking a larger view, it cuts through all-round development of young pupils and makes them book worms only.

4. Less value

More often than not, the assignments given have little to no value in personal or academic growth of students. Children are forced to engage in activities that do not interest them just for the sake of marks.

To sum up, it suffices to say that while giving homework is not a bad practice altogether, attention should be paid regarding the kind of homework given to students. The assignments should reinforce the learnings, allow exploration and hold value for students. It should lead to positive growth rather than becoming a mere burden on young minds.

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