The Real Purpose of Homework: Building Independence

When I was a first grade teacher in a school where homework was mandatory every night, I would set up various 15- to 20-minute tasks (with no commercial workbooks in sight) so math was on the kitchen table. I was able to measure and record the size. or family height (“Elementary school scraps years of homework ban”, March 5). Reciting short poems out loud in the mirror was another way to prepare for a classroom performance. The spelling/handwriting practice sheets I have designed each week are Must Learn (words that usually rhyme), Own Choice Extras, and Suggested Advanced, composed of spontaneous words such as Chocolate, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Palindrome. They were arranged in groups of three. All the words were taught and discussed during lesson time, so the homework was a simple self-study fix. It was intentionally difficult, but the kids knew the answers, like “What is Googol?” or “Which planet has the most moons?” But the most common task was to borrow a familiar book from the class library and read it aloud to mom, dad, the family cat, or favorite toy. put on your clothes and go to bed early.” Ellie Hallett, Toowoomba (QLD)

There are many reasons for student homework, but there is practically only one real purpose. Establishing continuous growth in independent learning is essential in the upper grades of school and higher education. However, in many school classrooms setting up, checking and detaining becomes a tedious task. It continues to be a major challenge for all teachers and families. Janice Cleanone, Austin Mar

more people have problems

Again, your editorial favors population growth through migration (“Reviewing the movement of skilled workers to solve labor shortages”, March 5). The sustainability of population growth is being considered despite abundant evidence that the ecosystems that support our lives are severely degraded and that population growth is one of the underlying causes. Not. Our short-term greed seems to blind us to processes that threaten the long-term well-being of people and nature. Now that’s the problem. Australians seem increasingly aware of this, as recent polls show that two-thirds of the population oppose further population growth. Can sustainability be a key decision-making criterion? Alan Jones, Narawena

Convenience of e-cigarettes

Your article explains how lack of regulation makes teenagers addicted to nicotine (Cheap coffee, chips and candy: Are e-cigarette shops targeting teens?”, March 5). His store, a convenience store near a train station that sells e-cigarette products with nicotine content designed to attract children, is thriving. This is just the latest example of Big Tobacco’s attempt to ensure the world is addicted, starting with a 20th-century attempt to stop medical professionals showing that smoking is killing people. do not have. Gary Burns, Mosman

Gacha Moment

Thank you, Jacqueline Murray, for pointing out the prevalence of childhood hysterical “gotcha” questions across media sections (March 5, “My fitness watch obsession is social affirmation.” reflects its dependence on”). At best, it reflects a descent into the lowest forms of tabloid journalism, actively discouraging ministers from making decisions about fairness and sustainability. At worst, it involves journalists in blatantly ideological political games and denounces their objectivity. Let’s keep raising our voices in the national interest. Alison Stewart, Riverview

Opposing voices are risks The Real Purpose of Homework: Building Independence

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