Monday ∗ 20 Sep 2010

Dep Ed needs to do its homework

because really, as far as teaching is concerned, Dep Ed‘s No Homework Policy is just unfair. to keep us from giving kids homework on a Friday, means practically starting from scratch on a Monday, difficult as it already is to make students snap out of the two-day vacay. homework is suppose to keep kids practicing what they learned throughout the week, even when it’s just a matter of doing a couple of exercises in Math and English, even when it’s only a matter of asking questions about the environment for Science. the point of homework is to have students think about your subject even when they don’t see you for two days.

now as far as parents are concerned, i don’t know that they’d like to have idle kids in front of the TV, or wanting to go to the mall, with nothing better to do over the weekend. it would be fantastic if every Filipino household was equipped with libraries, and reading was second nature. but we all know reading and books are leisure in this country, especially for public school students and parents, even teachers. i imagine that if there’s anyone who can be happy about the No Homework Policy and the bonding time it creates, it’s Henry Sy.

the Dep Ed memo says that this was borne of parents’ complaints that homework was robbing them of quality time with their kids. the response to these parents should be: homework and education is quality time with your children. and how many parents actually complained about homework being too much, versus being difficult?

because the issue of homework is in fact tied neatly together with the problems of public education in this country, with the low pay of teachers that keep them from being more involved in students’ learning, given the civil service code that allows tenured and regularized gov’t employees and teachers to stay on in positions regardless of bad teaching habits, or not teaching at all. this means that many teachers have the freedom to make life difficult for students, by giving them homework they can’t answer, by piling requirements on as if the students can understand, or afford, it.

now this the parents would have difficulty with, and can complain about. but homework per se?

homework, regardless of what day it’s given, is NOT a bad thing. in the hands of good teachers, homework that’s given on a Friday sets the tone of the Monday discussion, and the rest of the following week. putting together a lesson plan requires that a teacher also thinks about what post-lesson exercises to give, and these necessarily happen at home.

now if the issue is that teachers don’t give relevant homework or tend to pile it on as a matter of powertripping, then a No Homework Policy won’t solve that. in fact, this only means that they will give more homework throughout the week, which means students will suffer the backlash of a Dep Ed decision that’s supposedly for them to begin with.

and really, this doesn’t help the morale of teachers who still care about teaching and their students’ learning, despite the lack of security of tenure, the little pay, and how they suffer in the hands of those older than they are.

if there’s anything that the No Homework Policy reveals, it’s that Dep Ed needs to do its homework.

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