This was published in the NT Sun on September 11 2018.
NT HOMEWORK POLICY IS STRAIGHTFORWARD AND CLEAR.
The issue of homework has been front and centre of the educational debate for decades. The topic continues to be a key point of discussion. It plays a part in education at all levels. There seems to be a lot of confusion about homework, but that should not be the case.
The NT Department of Education homework policy, written in 2008 and reviewed every two years, was last updated by endorsement in November 2017. The policy is one and a half pages long. It precisely, yet simply outlines departmental expectation.
The following statement is offered.
“Schools must develop and implement a school homework policy. School homework policies should be developed in consultation with the school council. School homework policies must be regularly communicated with staff, parents/carers and students.”
It is a requirement that homework policies “ … should be readily available to the school community … students and parents/carers should be advised of class specific homework expectations at the beginning of the school year.”
The overall homework policy, once agreed, becomes part of the management responsibility vested in school principals. Teachers are responsible for setting and checking homework.
The policy offers clear points to clarify homework issues.
. It should be appropriate to student and stage of schooling.
. It should help students to be independent learners.
. It should link home and school in educational partnership.
. It should be relevant.
. It should support the curriculum.
Homework should never introduce new, untaught work. It should be about practice to help children become more independent in their understanding of what has been taught at school.
Children like being able to show pride in spelling accuracy, in knowing their tables, in developing a piece of prose, in offering neat and tidy work.
These are all skills that form part of the teaching challenge. What teachers teach children at school, can be shared with parents through practice at home. It’s not for parents to complete. Rather, it offers them a chance to be aware of and encourage their children’s learning. Homework should be a part of the school – home partnership.
For that reason, maths tables, spelling words, and reading are frequently extended beyond school for extra attention and awareness at home.
Homework should always be checked and evaluated by teachers. That will confirm its value to students and parents. If this is not done, it will lead students to thinking it is pointless.
The NT Education Department policy is clear and unambiguous. If followed, there will be no confusion about homework in the NT.