As some schools change tack, parents call for more play time and less homework for pupils
Dubai parents called for less homework and more play after welcoming a shift away from after-class studies for pupils by some schools.
Three school operators in the emirate, Arcadia Education, Taaleem and Ambassador Education, told The National they had either done away with the practice or cut back on the amount of work children are asked to do at home.
Instead, schools have allocated time for studies to be finished in class under the supervision of teachers.
Parents threw their support behind the strategy, believing it affords children more time for hobbies and to spend time with loved ones.
“Homework should be eliminated and children should be allowed to do what is best for them, which is playing,” said Fatima Rashid Schmit, a Bangladeshi mother.
“From the time children wake up, their entire day is regimented right up to bed time. I feel more schools need to adopt newer approaches to children’s overall upbringing.
“Denying children this time by imposing more academic work not only takes away from this important development but imposes stress ... and results in decreased happiness, all of which are detrimental to emotional intelligence in the long run.”
Clementina Kongslund, 42, a mother of two, said children do not need homework as long as they do enough work at school.
She said that a typical school day in Dubai is much longer than the ones she was used to back home in Europe.
“My children in Year 2 and Year 4 finish at 3pm and if they have an after-school activity in school, they finish at 4.15pm. By 7pm, we have to fit in play, relaxation, homework, dinner and a shower,” she said.
“My children do not get much homework and I prefer it this way ... Let children paint, play, pursue a passion and not just do homework.”
Janecke Aarnaes, the head of Dwight School Dubai, said research had that shown more homework did not necessarily lead to better grades.
“We are a homework-free school for all our pupils in the primary school and parents have reacted very positively,” Ms Aarnaes said.
“Research also shows that pupils feel an increasing level of stress in today’s society. If we are putting pupils through something that is not going to benefit their learning outcome anyway, then why do it?
“They can work independently while having teachers direct their learning. When they go home they have play time or some down time. I would advise parents to think about what they can introduce in their children’s lives that they may feel passionate about.”