Monday, 27 February 2017

Trading in Homework for Play Time

While reading an article from Doug Peterson's Best of Ontario Educators paper, I came across an interesting topic that has had some debate over the years - should homework be given in Elementary Schools? Principal Mark Trifilio of a school in Vermont proposed an experiment to eliminate homework and to instead replace it with reading - either alone at school or with a parent or guardian at home. To his surprise, teachers and Educational Assistants unanimously and passionately agreed with his decision. A "No Homework Policy" was created and instead students had the responsibility to read just-right books every night (and have parents read to them too), to go outside and play, to eat dinner with their family, and to have a good nights rest. What I love most about this idea is that is focuses on bettering students' health, both physical and mental. Homework can be a very stressful task for students, especially students in older grades. This "No Homework" policy is a great way for students to focus on their family (by prioritizing eating dinner with them), their physical health (by playing outside), and their mental health (by ensuring a good nights rest and allowing time for play). It also values reading, alone and with a parent/guardian, which not only can increase students' reading fluency, but it is also a great way for students to relax.

So what happened when this policy was put into practice? 
Six months into the experiment, Trifilio announced its success. Students were not falling back academically and instead were doing much better. Families and students also enjoyed the policy, saying that students now have more time to explore their passions and are reading much more on their own than before, instead of spending countless time on worksheets. 

1 comment:

  1. Melody,

    What an interesting article, and what positive results! It makes you wonder what other positive changes we could make in the world (and in education) if we took a step back and really examined why we do the things we do, and if they have the best impacts or outcomes.