My kids returned to school just last week. I expect that this week, the homework will begin. I'm dreading it. Between our two kids' extracurricular activities and our professions, my husband and I seriously struggle to do anything else with our kids BUT homework. So as I unanxiously wait for the homework to start rolling in, I thought I'd take a closer look at what homework is, why it's necessary (or not), and how effective it is. What I found? Homework debate: pros, cons. and I still don't like it!Homework Debate: Cons
I thought this was an interesting way to start. This statement is from an Education.com article "The Homework Debate ":
'“Homework is all pain and no gain,” says author Alfie Kohn. In his book The Homework Myth. Kohn points out that no study has ever found a correlation between homework and academic achievement in elementary school, and there is little reason to believe that homework is necessary in high school. In fact, it may even diminish interest in learning, says Kohn.'
I also found this statement by Nancy Kalish, author of "The Case Against Homework: How Homework Is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It" in Jay Mattews' column in the Washington Post was also very provoking:
"Another disturbing fact. is how little training teachers get when it comes to homework. Only one teacher in hundreds that we surveyed said she had ever taken a class specifically on homework. If you look into this, as we did, you'll find that most teacher training programs, even at top universities such as Harvard, don't include such courses."
The realm of education seems to be one that is concerned with making sure that teachers are constantly learning about new theories and techniques. So, the fact that so few educators are taught about homework really surprised me.
I read many, many articles and statements about how homework exhausts kids and has little educational value. Over and over again I came across these arguments.Homework Debate: Pros
Homework keeps kids from watching too much TV.
Homework increases school performance on standardized testing.
Jay Matthews, in another Washington Post article, "The Weak Case Against Homework " argues that he remembers "what class was like on days when I had not done my homework. I remember what it was like on days when I had. The latter was a much more engaging and useful educational experience than the former."
That was seriously underwhelming. So.I still don't like it
I was very disappointed in what I found as I read more and more about the topic of homework. I was hoping to find some inspiration or enthusiasm for homework. But I still don't like it. And, I do have some frame of reference, after all I was a student for many years myself. Granted, I can honestly say that not all homework is bad. But there is a lot of it, period. And a lot of it that in my opinion is frustrating for parents, and most importantly frustrating for students.Dream Homework
What would I like to see? Meaningful homework. I'm guessing that most teachers already feel that their homework is meaningful. But according to what I've read, we really don't know as teachers aren't necessarily taught about homework and what is effective and what isn't.
Homework that doesn't intimidate my kids or me. If my kids get homework, I want it to be something that they can reasonably achieve on their own and be successful. I want to see quality homework rather than quantity. My dream would be for teachers to work together so they could get a picture of what a kid's homework would look like when all their assignments are put together.
I know, I know. but it's my dream.
I'm looking forward to some comments that will help show people like me the value and need for homework. Help me!About Sarah Layton
Sarah has been with AES since 1998, first serving as a curriculum developer, and now as a customer support analyst and content creator. She is committed to helping instructors gain experience and confidence using our solutions and to providing excellent customer care. Sarah has a bachelor’s of arts degree in English and technical writing from the University of Delaware. In her previous professional life, she was a writer, editor, and publisher in both the hospitality and advertising industries. She lives in Lititz, Pa. with her husband, two children, and the best old dog ever, enjoying every moment of the chaos they all create.
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How to Debate a Point
How to Debate a Point
Even if you are in an office job, debate skills are vital elements to climbing up any job market (corporate, medical, or educational). Some people are better debaters than others. Consequently, they go into fields such as law or sales. Still, debating points is integral to improving your professional situation. You will need to know how to debate a point to increase your salary, you will need to debate a point to get the best position you deserve, the best desk, the best hours, the best clients, and so on. Even if your work takes you to places that argumentative skills are extraneous, they will always help you in your job pursuits. Perhaps you will need to debate a point just to get the job. You must convince an employer that you are the best candidate for the job in order to secure it and move up in the corporation (or school or hospital).
Follow these few steps to create a strong "point" or argument. From this point on, we will refer to a "point" as an argument or a theme.
While debates are usually oral, here are a few tips to follow in order to appear calm and collected and prepared. Confidence is vital in debate. Your presentation, speech, and appearance matter almost as much as your delivery and your content.
Remember, debates are just like essays. There is a thesis (central argument), several pieces of evidence, and a conclusion. The main difference in a debate is the presentation. You are not reading aloud a written essay. You are presenting a theme, an argument, a point orally. You must convince the opponent that you are correct and he or she is incorrect. You do this by appearing confident, disproving the opponent's point, and overpowering your points. It is vital to understand all sides of an issue so that you can disprove your opponent's point. This difference is where debating a point differs the most from writing an essay.
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Related Top 10 Slideshows Video
“You are in a hot air balloon that is losing height rapidly. It will soon crash into the side of a mountain because it is overweight. To prevent the certain death of everybody on board, only one person will be allowed to stay in the balloon!”
Balloon debates are a great way of promoting research and presentational skills, and invariably make for a very lively lesson!Lesson 1: Students research a character and prepare their presentations
Note: Defining “Importance”
To be historically important, a person must do some or all of the following:
Had an impact both in the short- and the long-term
Had an impact on a lot of people’s lives
Had an impact over many countries
Had an impact on many areas of life – for example: politics, economics, society, religion…it is a good idea to define these in discussion with students.Lesson 2: Conducting the Balloon Debate
A. Getting Ready for the First Round – focusing on ‘positives’
▪ Give the students 10 minutes to refresh their memories and to revise the material.
▪If they had homework time before the lesson, they will hopefully have made a mask ready for the debate.
▪ Get the PowerPoints saved into a public area so they can be shown on the whiteboard.
B. The first round of the debate – focusing on ‘positives’
▪ Four or five students stand at the front. Choose these randomly using the Classtools name picker .
▪ The first student’s Powerpoint is put onto the screen. The student is not allowed to read the slide – it’s there for the benefit of the audience – and they can only speak for 60 seconds, explaining what they did and why they deserve to stay in the balloon (note: they should speak in the first person, i.e. as if they ARE the character).
▪At the end of their speech, invite questions from the audience. These can be answered directly, OR the student concerned can nominate a ‘researcher’ to make a note of these questions and start finding the answers to them.
▪ Repeat this format for the other four students.
▪Go back to each of the nominated ‘researchers’, one after the other, to get answers to the questions raised during the debate.
▪ Each member of the audience then has to vote for just one character to be thrown OUT of the balloon.
▪ The two characters who get the least votes are then ‘thrown out’ (or even bottom three, depending on the size of the class / time available).
▪ This process is repeated with the remaining people in the class.
C. Getting ready for the final round of the debate – focusing on ‘negatives’
▪ Each finalist now works with a team consisting of the people they defeated in Round 1.
▪ Their task is to gather evidence AGAINST the other finalists, for example suggesting that they were insignificant, unheroic, and so on.
▪ In this way, the focus of the whole debate is changed, everybody remains engaged, and the final will not merely consist of rehearsing the same old points a second time.
D. The final round of the debate – focusing on ‘negatives’
▪ The finalists should line up at the front of the class.
▪ The first finalist should explain why the person to their left does NOT deserve to stay in the balloon. The person criticised in this way should be given a chance to respond before they in turn criticise the person to their left. The person at the end of the line should criticise the person who started the discussion.
▪ The audience then has to vote who should be thrown out. It is important that they don’t vote for who should stay in – because there is too much of a tendency for students to vote in favour of the finalist whose team they belong to.
▪ The ‘Two hands / One hand” voting system works well here: in this format, students raise two hands (=two votes against) their least favourite character, and one hand against the second least-favoured. This makes for a slightly more sophisticated voting outcome.
Step 4: Written outcomes
As a written “outcome” you could get students to answer the questions: