Today it’s hard to imagine the educational process without homework. We are used to doing homework since we were very little, but few of us actually wonder about the origins of homework. Who was the person that first believed in the importance of homework? What were the first homework givers trying to achieve? When were the first homework assigned and how did we get to where we are today? Find out who invented homework and when those events took place!
Notes from history
The first facts concerning homework date back to the ancient Rome. In the 1st century AD Pliny the Younger, a teacher of oratory arts, first asked his Quintilian followers to do some work at home. He believed that the more informal atmosphere of a family circle may help his students to develop better speaking skills in shorter time. The results of the first homework given in history were so amazing and inspirational that this approach was later adopted by teachers all around the world.
However, the first homework as we know it today was introduced by an Italian teacher Roberto Nevilis, who actually thought of homework as a form of punishment of his students in the early 20th century. Since then more and more teachers started giving homework, and back when your grandparents were students, homework was already absolutely common.
Even though the official birth-date of homework is 1905, homework became known since the late 19th century. During that time the approach to teaching began to change; tutors no longer viewed homework as an optional aspect of the teaching process and instead started thinking of it as an integral part of the studies. Homework has one important goal: to teach the student how to study independently and complete tasks. For the homework to fulfill the goals set by the teaching process, it should meet the following criteria:
- It should continue the teaching process set by the teacher in class;
- It shouldn’t be too long or complex for an average student;
- It should be completely feasible.
Teachers today can’t thank enough the people who were on the forefront of homework. Thanks to their achievements, today homework is a vital part of the studying process and is very important for the student’s ability to do the learning themselves.
Why was homework invented by?
Homework is something all the teachers can agree on: whether the teacher has traditional views on education or belongs to the new generation of educators, they value homework and understand that there is no more effective way to develop a student’s ability to study independently and challenge themselves. Besides these reasons for the importance of homework, there are at least 4 more positive effects of home learning:
- In order for the scientific concepts to be processed and remembered, they need to be repeated and used in real life situations.
- Homework is indispensable when it comes to developing a student’s creative imagination and ability to work independently.
- Doing homework prevents the material, which was newly acquired in the classroom, from being forgotten.
- Employing memorization mechanisms ensures that the concept and facts learned in the classroom are forever stored in a student’s memory.
The success of the teaching process is equally influenced by the success in the classroom and homework success. However, homework is much more challenging to organize correctly by all the parties involved, which is why teachers need to pay extra attention to the way they are giving homework to their students. Every assignment given by the teacher, whether it should be done in classroom or during the preparation for homework, should involve the following stages of educational material assimilation:
- Formation of skills.
- Application of new skills in practice.
The aims of homework
The role of homework in the educational process has always been questioned, and even today there are people, both among students and teachers, who believe homework is completely unnecessary. However, numerous researches and statistics actually prove the opposite. Even Roberto Nevilis, the person who is responsible for the modern approach to homework, already formulated the reasons why homework is so beneficial to students:
- Students get to work at the hours they choose for themselves and choose their own rhythm.
- Students learn to use all sources of information available to them.
- Students can design their own learning plan and watch their progress.
- Students learn to study without outside estimation and control.
- Students don’t need to work too quickly and can choose their own pace.
Moreover, the scholars who came after Roberto Nevilis, added the following positive effects of homework:
- Material taught in the classroom gets constantly repeated.
- The material is efficiently remembered and processed.
- Students get to learn and apply their independent work skills.
- The research skills of students get stronger and more developed.
- Students can have their power of will and responsibility improved.
- Students learn to extract and filter information according to its importance for their current assignment.
One of the most important requirements for success of combining classroom work and homework is to employ different types of homework, so that the students learn to apply different skills in different situations. For example, teachers are known to achieve great success with taking students for outdoor lessons and giving them homework assignments based on this experience.
Types of homework
In the past there weren’t too many types of homework for the teachers to choose from, which is why students mostly had to deal with a limited variety of homework assignments. However, as the educational process progressed, different new types of homework appeared, and today students can often encounter the following kinds of assignment:
- Written exercises
- Creative writing
- Oral exercises
- Observations and experiments
- Textbook study
Combining these homework types in a manner that fits the educational purposes and the students’ aspirations helps the teacher achieve their goals faster and more efficiently.
Why does homework matter?
There are many available types of homework, and each of them has the potential to completely change the way students process new material as long as the content of the homework is carefully curated by the tutor and the homework is correctly organized. According to educational psychologists, the way the new material is taught in class is very important, but without adequate homework the assimilation and application of the new knowledge in practice will not happen the way it’s intended to.
The goal of homework is no longer to punish students or deprive them of their personal time. Instead, homework has one essential purpose: to let students understand and remember as much new material given in class as possible through completing various assignments and learning how to use new information and skills in real life. The job of the teacher in this situation is to properly organize the process for maximum efficiency.