Saturday, March 20, 2010

Work?! On a break???

One bad thing about having students “friended” on Facebook is the bevy of complaints that I start to field about how much I’m a heathen for assigning homework during Spring Break.  The homework isn’t “busy work”, meaning worksheets or useless paperwork, it’s actually reading.  My Economics class has to read one “section” on Demand, about four pages in the textbook.  My AP U.S. History class has to read a chapter, about 28 pages.  And my A.P. Comp Gov class also has to read a chapter, again about 28 pages.  In the end it is the necessity to know the information that is important, and that information is quizzed upon return.

Unfair?  Look, I have two “college prep” level classes and three Advanced Placement classes, which are classes that are supposed to emulate a four-year college course.  I don’t assign work during Christmas Break, but I don’t see the problem with saying “hey, the work still needs to get done” for Thanksgiving and Spring Break, just like most colleges. 

Is it effective?  Well, in most cases it isn’t.  Students are becoming less and less inclined to read anything given to them, and even if they read many students are so distracted by a multitude of options that they can’t apply anything.  My wife and I discussed last night that many kids are expecting all instruction to be done in class only, with nothing but their own time outside of the room.  That’s fine and dandy except that we need to remove the “college prep” or Advanced Placement emphasis from things if we are deciding to go that direction.  It’s not too good when an AP student announced “You realize that nobody is going to read during vacation right”?  My response is always the same. 

“Ok”.

And we move on.   

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