Quebec Elementary School Just Says ‘Non’ to Homework

By Kathryn Baron — September 04, 2014 1 min read
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A Quebec elementary school is giving its students a year off from homework.

The Collège de Saint-Ambroise school board approved a pilot program to ban homework for its 339 students in grades 1-6 in order to take pressure off parents and, perhaps, boost student performance, according to an article in the Globe and Mail.

The school board was swayed by research “that homework time is becoming more and more difficult,” board spokeswoman Marie-Eve Desrosiers told the Canadian newspaper, which is based in Toronto.

We’ve written quite a bit about the pros and cons of homework on this blog. A February post features an Arizona teacher who stopped assigning homework to his 6th graders when he realized it was a chore rather than a meaningful effort to engage students in “authentic work outside of school.”

In another blog from last December, we reported on a high-performing New York City high school that established certain school days as homework free. Also last year, Education Week reporter Sarah D. Sparks wrote about research that found heavy homework loads prevented teens from getting enough sleep.

The criticism isn’t over all homework; just the stuff that researchers, teachers, and parents describe as busy work. For instance, teachers at Collège de Saint-Ambroise are allowed to assign reading and studying, but their students won’t be getting those ubiquitous homework packets containing pages of math problems.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Time and Learning blog.