All Work and No Play

September 23, 2008 1 min read

A prominent English school is radically cutting the amount of homework assigned to students, the BBC reports. The Tiffin Boy’s School in southwest London was piling on up to four hours of homework a night, but a new rule caps out-of-class work at 40 minutes.

“The more we looked at what was being set, it came over as quite mechanistic and repetitive,” Head Teacher Sean Heslop explained to the news service. “We thought, if there’s one way to put students off learning, that’s the way to do it.”

While some groups, like prominent English educators’ union the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, have called for an end to homework in primary schools, some research suggests that homework is good for students—in moderation. Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology at Duke University, has conducted research showing a positive correlation between homework and achievement.

“The bottom line really is all kids should be doing homework, but the amount and type should vary according to their developmental level and home circumstances,” Cooper said in a Duke press release. “Homework for young students should be short, lead to success without much struggle, occasionally involve parents and, when possible, use out-of-school activities that kids enjoy, such as their sports teams or high-interest reading.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.