Primary education: listening and observing
Primary education: listening and observing

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Primary education: listening and observing

1 Primary school children and homework

In the UK, at the moment, there are no requirements in national education policies for children to do homework. Governments have left it to headteachers to decide how much homework to give children. Headteachers usually decide this in consultation with teaching staff, and sometimes parents.

In the following video, primary school headteacher Mark Millinson gives his views about homework. He says homework should be an opportunity for children to learn, and to involve parents in their learning.

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I think homework is a great opportunity to explore what the children have learnt, and a great opportunity to assess anything that they're currently not sure of. However, homework is an opportunity to support children in the joy and love of learning. I want these children leaving primary school, going into secondary school, enthused about learning, and hopefully that continues into their adult lives. To do that, we have to make learning interesting. It has to be vibrant, it has to be-- we have to develop that curiosity. So instead of sheets, and sheets, and sheets of photocopies going home, that perhaps haven't gone through the mind of the adults before the child looks at them and may not be relevant to their learning. I much prefer to offer the children tasks and investigations. And then the children work on those for a number of weeks. Hopefully with their families, with a view to-- what did we have recently? With Egyptians, we've had a variety of pyramids coming in and a deepening understanding of the lessons that they've undertaken during their history lessons because they're now explaining to their parents why something is significant. But that said, there's still the spellings that we're hoping will be learned, and there's still the multiplication tables that can be learned. And parents play a significant role in that because that's the type of rote learning that can happen which can then be applied as the children are in school. I mean, to understand your multiplication tables is a skill which enables other mathematical concepts to be engaged with. And parents can play a lovely role in that respect. There are opportunities to listen to what children's opinions are about things, and to engage them in learning. And I want our parents here to do exactly that because it's yet another opportunity that children have to learn from adults around them. Just because we have the title of teacher doesn't mean to say we're the only teachers.
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Mark says homework is, literally, ‘learning at home’, where children continue to develop their knowledge of the world by involving others in their learning. He also says it’s an opportunity for parents to hear children’s opinions about what they’re learning in school.

In the next section you’ll meet two children from Mark’s school and hear about their views on homework.


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