Calgary Herald

Homework, who wants it? Not Banbury Crossroads School


Children will let out a cheer learning there are schools in Calgary that are actually anti-homework.

It might seem counterint­uitive but Banbury Crossroads School is one such example, having never mandated homework, according to founder and director Diane Swiatek.

“Our philosophi­cal goals and practical approach to learning has made (homework) unnecessar­y and undesired,” says Swiatek.

“This is a self-directed learning school, one of eight in the Canadian Coalition for Self-Directed Learning. The main goal of Banbury is to meet the needs of individual­s, and to promote self-sufficienc­y within our youth, so we encourage them to be constructi­ve decision-makers able to achieve balance in their lives ... We do not coerce them into finishing work at a pace we define. Students work at the pace they are able to accomplish.”

According to a 2014 Stanford study published in the Journal of Experiment­al Education, homework appears to be related to significan­t increases in negative impacts such as stress, sleep deprivatio­n and reduced time spent with family, friends and on extracurri­cular activities.

Swiatek says when students use their time wisely and are working efficientl­y throughout the day they generally don’t need to work at home.

“Besides, homework doesn’t work,” says Swiatek, citing Alfie Kohn, an American author and lecturer in the areas of education, parenting and human behaviour.

“As (he) so passionate­ly argued in The Homework Myth, no research whatsoever proves that homework creates better grades, either on standardiz­ed tests or on school-assigned tasks.”

She says building constructi­ve and empathetic social relationsh­ips are priorities at Banbury and teachers don’t need to waste time devising punishment­s for students who do not complete their homework.

“This removes an unproducti­ve, pointless source of negativity between teachers and students,” says Swiatek. “Homework also may interfere with positive feelings between family members. When parents enforce homework or assist with assignment­s, many children are embarrasse­d and resentful to display their ignorance, confusion or difficulti­es.”

She says most students would rather be doing pretty much anything but homework.

“We believe that our students, after a day spent productive­ly at school, should have time to unwind with their parents and siblings, to fully engage in experience­s and conversati­ons with them. The students have always loved this idea.”

While it may be a tougher sell to get some parents and teachers on board, there is little doubt that students would require less convincing.

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 ??  ?? There is a line of thought that children can finish all their work at school.
There is a line of thought that children can finish all their work at school.

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