“LESS work can be more rigorous than more.” ~Alice Keeler
I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently. Why do we give our students homework? Is it because we believe that the more work they do out of school the better their grasp of the content? Is it because this is how education has always been done? Parents ask for homework because it’s what they had when they were growing up, but really is it the best for our students? Is it the best for our community?
We want our students to grow and become deeper thinkers. Anyone you ask would say that’s what they hope would happen for their student, but in the same conversation they would say that homework is what they expect to come home every night. There seems to be a disconnect between what people view as homework and what actually requires deep thinking.
Take a moment to think about this quote from Alice Keeler, “LESS work can be more rigorous than more.” Truly think about that and then let’s start to view homework for what it is. We assign a few pages of homework every night expecting to get something out of it. In reality we are setting our kids up for failure because that homework doesn’t require deep levels of thinking. If less work can be more rigorous than more, we should see that represented in how students are working in the classroom and outside of the classroom. If we are giving them homework than let’s make it meaningful to them, stop sending worksheets home that receive a smiley face and start having students actually deepen their knowledge of content.
My goal this year is to set up a culture where deep thinking is valued and the norm, not the exception. Worksheets don’t get us there, but design challenges and reflection can get us there. With a mindset of collaboration, students will begin to break out of the system they have been a part of, and start to realize their thinking is valued. Each minute we spend with our students makes on impact on their future. I want those minutes to count, not just to wish them away for the weekend. I want to value their work and I believe that less work will be more rigorous than more. (thanks to Alice for the quote!)