Why primary teachers should think twice about setting homework

Primary teachers have been warned against setting too much homework, as it can create inequalities in the classroom, TES is reporting.

The warning comes from Louis Volante, professor of education at Brock University in Canada, who says not all students will have the same resources at home.

He said having flexible and adaptable lessons as well as making the most of “teachable moments” (unplanned opportunities that arise in a classroom when a child’s interest is often at its highest) were other ways in which teachers could engage disadvantaged pupils.

He also highlighted the benefits of having high- and low-achieving pupils working side-by-side in the same classroom.

Countries where there is more choice of school-type within the education system (eg, between independent and state schools) tend to have lower outcomes for disadvantaged pupils and lower outcomes overall, said Professor Volante. While countries with systems which delay streaming pupils until later in their school lives tend to have better outcomes for disadvantaged pupils because “surprise, surprise: they often get placed into lower academic tracts,” he said.

Professor Volante is currently conducting a five-year research programme examining different characteristics affecting pupil outcomes, along with colleagues in New Zealand and Holland. He was speaking at the New Visions for Primary and Early Years Education conference at the British Library.

Read more Why primary teachers should think twice about setting homework

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