Whom on Earth this terrible homework was invented by?
One of the things that pupils and students all over the world like least of all is probably homework. Really, why having spent long hours in a college, school or university poor students should do more tasks at home instead of playing football, watching TV or being busy with other things that are much more pleasant? Who and when started this awful tradition? Ok, let us start with an answer to “who” and “when” before going to “why”.
Most historians would say that the first teacher in our planet who started to assign homework to his students was Roberto Nevilis. This outstanding idea came across his mind almost a thousand years ago, back in 1095. It all happened in wonderful Venice, which at that time was, and still is located in Italy. However, we cannot be one hundred percents sure that Roberto Nevilis was the only homework inventor. It is quite possible that teachers in ancient Egypt or in China at the days of, say, Qin Dynasty assigned their pupils to extra tasks to be done at home. But no historical evidence of such practice have been discovered yet. Now, when we know “when” and “who” let us think of “why”.
The main idea of doing homework is still the same as when Roberto Nevillis invented it. Homework, at least in theory, should help students to digest the knowledge received in class room and/or to practice newly obtained skills. Historically, though, this bright idea was not that popular in the United States. Even more – back in 1901 in California the legislative act was adopted that actually abolished homework for all children from kindergarten to eighth grade. Such negative attitude to homework in American society at that time could be explained by low popularity of higher education and by the necessity for children to help their family to get better. Situation has changed dramatically after World War II when the need in qualified personnel and in scientists sharply increased. Partially, the increasing role of homework in educational system was inspirited by Cold war that strongly affected international relations in the fifties of previous century. At that time pupils in the Soviet Union were to do their homework which was officially included in school program. That is why American children were being pushed to keep up with their Soviet age mates.
Since then the amount of homework to be done by students has been constantly growing. For instance, Japanese students could be considered world champions regarding the volume of tasks that they are completing out of school rooms. It is not rare when they spend more hours studying different subjects at home rather than at classes. Modern world becomes more and more sophisticated and technologically advanced. The enormous amount of information must be absorbed by people even at early stages of life. Therefore it is quite natural for teachers to make students work not just at schools or universities but also at home. The question is though whether homework is really an effective mean of modern educational system and whether homework worth time that is spent on it. Experts express opposite opinions on this matter. Numerous studies have been conducted as for effectiveness and extent of homework. But the results of these studies have proved to be controversial. It was discovered that the amount of homework for children ages six through nine has been increased more than twice since the beginning of eighties of 20th century. Nevertheless, whether students have been progressed in accordance with growing volume of homework they are doing is still a question.
So, why ask WHO invented homework? It may be worth asking WHY he had done it.
Most of all parents had such situation when they come back home and their kids are telling them about failed homework. It is so sad when you have to study with your kids doing their homework instead of having rest after long working day and their kids are upset as well. So, who invented homework? Why is it so important? Maybe it is better to do all tasks at the school?!
Here are some facts from history. First mentions about homework were made at the Roman date. You can find them in the Quintilian writings on Oratorical skills. In the charters of the brethren schools, which were found in Ukraine and Belarus in the 16-17 century, were mentioned about the self-development tasks that should be done at home. In the 17 century, the educator Jan Amos Kaminski demonstrated the need for the class education system that made the homework required element of the teaching and training process.
Over the course of history, discussions about the necessity of the homework were the most discussed topics. For example, Leon Tolstoy, in his school, called off the homework reasoning it as a broken evenings’ time of the student. But according to the Ushinski, the homework is the most important form of the self-education process.
In 1017 in Russia, the homework was officially called off telling that it is just the vestige of the middle-class. But later in 1923, it was recalled because of lack of knowledge. But the delegated legislation on August 25, 1932 about the “Education programs in the elementary and high school” says that the homework and self-development tasks are obligatory at the school and home as well. In the 60s and 90s of the previous century, homework system faced two more waves of discussions when the authorities tried to reform the educational system.
So, according to the historical experience, we can see that homework system helps to achieve higher results during the education process and develop self-education skills to learn and overcome the difficulties in finding appropriate information. As part of the educational process, the homework helps the students to become a responsible individual who is able to self-development.
To be fair, I admit that the school programs, our kids learn, are very difficult. Even now at the first-grade students learn such additional subjects as computing science, foreign languages and oratory. Year by year, the time required for the lessons, at the school and home, is growing. Nowadays, the medical advisors are talking about the fact that health saving approach must be the base of the educational programs. In this case, the parents should think about things that would help their kids because there are a lot of programs that are developing to be used in the school system.
So, the first thing they could do is to organize the proper training environment at home, so they could do their homework easily. The biggest mistake of the parents is that they force their kids to settle down to homework. So the parents have to find an appropriate approach to every kid because they have and individual way of thinking and features of the nervous system. Before making the day regimen, the parents have to watch their kids and define the appropriate time that is more comfortable for them to do the homework. So, everything depends on parents care so the kids can do everything easily and with an attention and interest.