10 SES 04 A, Research in Teacher Education: Cultures and Methodologies
The contradictory nature of the research results that literature contributes about homework reflects the ongoing debate, with controversies and feelings throughout the educational community. The emergence of the Internet has transformed the way people have access to information and to knowledge and how they interact. In this sense, it is necessary to provide conclusions, recommendations and challenges for the future: "How can homework be an effective tool, a useful communication strategy, and a beneficial learning experience?" (Epstein & Van Voorhis, 2001). There is a deep disagreement as to whether or not they should assign homework to the students, and there are questions about for whom, what types, how much and how often they would be appropriate (Kohn, 2007), among others. In the centre of this diversity of opinions, there is the key question of the effectiveness of the homework to improve the learning process of the students.
Several authors agree to point out that homework is a "complex thing" (Corno, 1996, p.27), is a "battlefield" (Cooper, 2001) for teachers, students, and parents. There are many factors that influence them, and there is diversity of contexts involved in them. School assignment is a common, widespread educational activity of everyday importance for many students, parents and teachers from different countries (Chen & Stevenson, 1989; Dettmers, Trautwein, & Lüdtke, 2009; Valle, Pan, et al., 2015; Warton, 2001). Therefore, it is not surprising that the task is often considered an important instructional strategy to improve the academic achievement of students (Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006; Cooper & Valentine, 2001; Corno & Xu, 2004; Epstein & Van Voorhis, 2001; Trautwein, Köller, Schmitz, & Baumert, 2002).
In spite of these possible positive effects, not only on the academic performance, but also on the acquisition of study habits, responsibility, autonomy, there are also authors who have warned about the segregating effects that homework has. That is, homework is associated to students with more academic difficulties; they do not have equitable family support, and this increases the gap between students (Cooper, 2015, OECD, 2014).
However, it is convenient to think about: What do we mean by homework? What types of homework are there? Do we consider as homework to develop an interview, to use ICT, to do sports, to read books voluntarily, among others? These are some of the questions that should be posed by all teachers at the school level in order to manage and organize a homework policy (Cooper, 2001). There are many factors that influence homework, which are relevant to consider before making any decision about homework as a teacher or school. The debate and reflection at the school level should be broader and, above all, based on evidence and not on opinions (Valle et al., 2015). Perhaps for this reason, recently homework has become a topic of controversy, of interest and of public debate. At the same time, homework has also become an active area of research among researchers.
In the field of the current pedagogical reflection movement to improve education in the 21st century, the aim of this contribution is to analyse the conceptualization of homework by Primary teachers.
This contribution presents the analysis of the conceptualization of homework by Primary teachers. First of all, a systematic review was conducted in order to identify homework’s factors. The aim was to identify, with previous researches, those variables associated with homework. The second step was to identify Primary schools in Catalonia. Specifically, the participants were teachers of sixth year of Primary stage, because the literature emphasizes that homework exert a greater influence on academic performance in the more advanced courses than in the lower classes (Cooper, Lindsay, Nye, & Greathouse, 1998). First of all, it was selected the schools that agreed to form part of a representative sample of the “Escola Nova 21” program. This program is an alliance of schools and other public and civil society institutions for an advanced education system. It responds to UNESCO’s call for the participation of all sectors in an inclusive process to improve education. They were constructed on the basis of percentage of geographic distribution, socioeconomic profile, degree of complexity, and other characteristics (rural schools, large schools, public or privately-managed / publicly-funded schools) of the current system. They are 23 primary schools (sample A). Then, 23 other schools were selected, which do not participate in the aforementioned program. The inclusion criteria to select these schools are below: - The school teaches Primary Education stage. - The school is localised in the same region or city than one school from sample A. - The school coincides with the public or privately-managed of a school in sample A. Finally, the last step was to elaborate a questionnaire with multiple choice question and open-ended questions to be applied to the teachers of the sixth year of the 46 primary schools selected. Specifically, there was a question about the conceptualization of homework. This questionnaire was also validated by experts in methodology of research, in terms of intelligibility and relevance, and adjusted accordingly. These questionnaires were applied face-to-face in 43 primary schools, in which a total of 155 answers were obtained. There were 3 primary schools that did not participate. The validation was both quantitative and qualitative. The quantitative data collected enabled the analysis of the questionnaire’ consistency, which was calculated with Cronbach’s Alpha. The content analysis is generated to analyse the qualitative data, and specifically the question about the conceptualization of homework.
Teachers mentioned that homework is an activity or task to be done at home. Some participants add information about the homework’s purposes to define them, but these are similar. On the one hand, Primary teachers that participate in the educational innovation program contributed that: “to search information, to empower previously acquired knowledge, to increase autonomy, to solve a challenge, to share moments in family, to work in group, to create interest”. On the other hand, the other primary teachers contributed as homework’s purpose: “to enrich academic contents worked, to finish a class work, to take responsibility doing something outside, to participate with the family or with colleagues, to prepare expositions, to anticipate it with videos or readings”. This analyse intends to know the conceptualization of homework by teachers of the sixth year of Primary education. This reflection is extremely important for several reasons. On the one hand, in the field of lifelong learning, it is necessary to develop instruments that allow teachers to discuss, reflect, agree and act. The debate and reflection about homework must be based on evidences. On the other hand, this reflection is necessary to consider the many variables associated with homework. Some teachers mentioned that homework is not always an activity that was not finished in class, in the same way that homework can be done individually or with someone else. For this, it becomes necessary not only study the conceptualization of homework, but also its practice and the different types of it. Homework’s factors involve the entire educational community. Also, these factors should be related with the teaching methodology, according to the educational project of each centre. In conclusion, this contribution is an instance to reflect about homework that are framed within the teaching-learning methodologies and within the main educational challenges in the 21st century.
Chen, C., & Stevenson, H. W. (1989). Homework: A Cross-Cultural Examination. Source: Child Development, 60(3), 551–561. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8624.ep7252708 Cooper, H., Lindsay, J. J., Nye, B., & Greathouse, S. (1998). Relationships Among Attitudes About Homework, Amount of Homework Assigned and Completed, and Student Achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90(1), 70–83. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-0622.214.171.124 Cooper, H. (2001). Homework for all - In moderation. Educational Leadership, 58(7), 34–38. Cooper, H., & Valentine, J. C. (2001). Using Research to Answer Practical Questions About Homework. Educational Psychologist, 36(3), 143–153. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15326985EP3603_1 Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2006). Does Homework Improve Academic Achievement ? A Synthesis of Research , 1987 – 2003. Review of Educational Research, 76(1), 1–62. https://doi.org/10.3102/00346543076001001 Cooper, H., Robinson, J. C., & Patall, E. A. (2015). Achievement? A Synthesis of Research , 1987 – 2003, 76(1), 1–62. Retrieved from http://rer.sagepub.com/content/76/1/1.short Corno, L. (1996). Homework is a complicated thing. Educational Researcher. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1176489 Corno, L., & Xu, J. (2004). Homework as the Job of Childhood. Theory Into Practice, 43(3), 227–233. https://doi.org/10.1207/s15430421tip4303_9 Dettmers, S., Trautwein, U., & Lüdtke, O. (2009). The relationship between homework time and achievement is not universal: Evidence from multilevel analyses in 40 countries. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 20(4), 375–405. https://doi.org/10.1080/09243450902904601 Epstein, J. L., & Van Voorhis, F. L. (2001). More than minutes: Teachers’ roles in designing homework. Educational Psychologist, 36(3), 181–193. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15326985EP3603_4 Kohn, A. (2007). Rethinking Homework. Principal, 86(3), 35–38. Retrieved from https://avoserv.library.fordham.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ehh&AN=23492565&site=eds-live OECD. (2014). In Focus - Does homework perpetuate inequities in education? OECD Publishing, 87, 2. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.11.030 Trautwein, U., Köller, O., Schmitz, B., & Baumert, J. (2002). Do Homework Assignments Enhance Achievement? A Multilevel Analysis in 7th-Grade Mathematics. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 27(1), 26–50. Valle, A., Pan López, I., Núñez, J. C., Rosário, P., Rodríguez, S., & Regueiro, B. (2015). Homework and academic achievement in Primary Education. Anales de Psicología / Annals of Psychology, 31(2), 562–569. Retrieved from http://revistas.um.es.sire.ub.edu/analesps/article/view/analesps.31.2.171131/175611 Valle, A., Regueiro, B., Estévez, I., Piñeiro, I., Rodríguez, S., & Freire, C. (2015). Implicación y motivación hacia los deberes escolares en los estudiantes de Primaria según el rendimiento académico y el curso. European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education No, 5(3), 345–355. https://doi.org/10.1989/ejihpe.v5i3.137 Warton, P. M. (2001). The Forgotten Voices in Homework: Views of Students. Educational Psychologist, 36(3), 155–165. https://doi.org/10.1207/S15326985EP3603_2
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