For most children in primary school homework is just part of the deal. But one teacher from Godley Elementary School in Texas has shocked the parents of her class by issuing them with a letter which outlines her unique homework policy. Or lack there of.
The letter from the second grade teacher, Brandy Young, has gone viral with almost 59,000 shares already. It was uploaded by one of her student’s mother’s Facebook page. With it, parent Samantha Gallagher, “Brooke is loving her new teacher already!”
In the letter which was handed to parents at a parent/teacher information evening, Miss Young explains that she is using this year to trial a new approach to homework. Rather than the usual preassigned tasks, Miss Young says that the only homework children will need to complete will be work that they did not finish during the course of the school day.
Miss Young explains that the decision has come about after much research into the area of homework and says that to date, research has been “unable to prove that (it) improves student performance”.
Instead of spending the afternoons and evenings immersed in arithmetic and spelling lessons, she asks that families spend their time doing things which are proven to assist in children’s learning and development such as eating dinner as a family, reading together, playing outside and ensuring children get enough sleep by going to bed early.
Miss Young spoke to CBS News about her decision to cull homework. “Students work hard all day,” she said. “When they go home they have other things they need to learn there. I’m trying to develop their whole person; it’s not beneficial to go home and do pencil and paper work.”
Miss Young also noted that she was fortunate to teach at a school with an innovative approach to education.
“Our Superintendent really encouraged us to be innovators. Whether or not it’s popular, I just want to see if it would work. You can’t know if it’s gonna work unless you try it.”
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Understandably the children are all for this new approach to homework (where was she when I was at school?!) but it’s parents too who are praising the refreshing approach to school life.
Since the upload, thousands of people have praised Miss Young. “Finally more teachers are catching on to this,” wrote one commenter. “Hopefully this will change some things,” added another.
My son is yet to start school (that’s the biggie for next year) but from what I’ve heard it’s full on. Five-year-olds are being assigned homework and readers and for the first few terms the poor little things are exhausted.
As a parent, I love Miss Young’s idea. The holistic approach of this teacher shows that while formal education is crucial, there are other important aspects to life which can and do enrich a child’s learning.
She demonstrates a deep understanding of what goes on for children after that bell rings in the afternoon. For a lot of children the inclusion of homework in the afternoon means that they don’t get outside to play, they miss dinner with the family and they fall asleep late, starting the next day without the ideal energy reserved needed to fuel more learning.
Miss Young says that since her letter went viral she has been made aware of several other teachers adopting her approach. “For any teacher considering anything that might benefit their students I say go for it; if something doesn’t work, change it.”