Homework has been an integral part of the learning process for years. Ever wonder how many years in precise? Or who invented homework? And for what purpose? Find the answers to these and many more homework-related questions by reading on.

The History of Homework

Mentions of homework date back to ancient Rome. Pliny the Younger was probably the one who came up with the idea of homework in the I century AD by asking his students to practice public speaking at home. The goal was to help them get more fluent and confident speakers.

Some claim Roberto Nevilis, an Italian pedagog, invented homework in 1905 as a form of punishment. However, many disapprove of this fact and even question his existence. But regardless of who the inventor was, homework has become quite popular around the globe.

The end of the 19th century saw significant changes in the education system. Of these developments, was how often and what kind of homework teachers could give. Homework, like Pliny the Younger approached it, would be a way for students to learn independently away from the classroom.

However, for an after-school assignment to fulfill its function, it must:

  • Be feasible
  • Not be large or complicated
  • Test a student’s understanding of material already presented in class

Why Was Homework Invented?

The reasoning behind the invention of homework was that it would help develop students’ independence, individuality, initiative, and creative imagination. These factors further support the need for after-class assignments:

  • Homework helps prevent the forgetting of knowledge gained during at-school learning by reinforcing studied material.
  • Repeated comprehension and assimilation is required to master scientific concepts.
  • How effective the assimilation of material studied will be depends on the dispersion of its memorization.
  • Homework is crucial for the development of students’ creative abilities.

Teachers should also keep in mind that the assimilation of educational material follows the following stages:

  1. Perception
  2. Comprehension
  3. Consolidation
  4. Skill formulation
  5. Application of acquired skills and knowledge

What Purpose Does Homework Serve?

Many people today propose doing away with homework because they believe it’s not necessary for the mastering of the material learned in school. However, recent research shows that after-class assignments serve different crucial purposes, mainly:

  • Helping children master various new skills such as research skills (e.g., comparison, assumption, and hypothesis construction)
  • Teaching children how to become independent and responsible individuals

Types of Homework

During earlier years, homework did not involve a lot of individual tasks. Today, teachers include several types of homework assignments in the studying process to help students easily understand information. These include:

  • Practice homework to demonstrate mastery of material studied
  • Oral exercises
  • Written exercises
  • Creative tasks, such as essay writing, poetry, and performing a play
  • Preparing reports on material learned such as writing a thesis or dissertation
  • Conducting observations and experiments

How Does Homework Improve the Quality of Education?

Knowledge perception and consolidation requires subsequent thinking and application of new skills. And assigning homework is among the ways to achieve this. Each type of after-class task aims at enhancing students’ knowledge, systemizing acquired knowledge, practicing skills acquired in the classroom, and improving the learning process overall. So a child that doesn’t complete their homework is at a disadvantage learning-wise compared to one that does.

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