As some schools change tack, par­ents call for more play time and less home­work for pupils

The National - News - - NEWS EMIRATES - ANAM RIZVI

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.”

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