Why Teachers Assign Homework, and Why It Doesn’t Work

Why teachers assign homework, and why it doesn't work

Why do teachers assign homework? Does it really work?

Year after year, I have questioned myself, “Is it really so necessary?”

I am among those teachers who think homework is indispensable. I know- student hate it. But if you have struggling students in your class, there is no other way out. Only quality instruction won’t do the job – they need to develop good study habits too, and homework is the best tool to achieve this.

12 Reasons why I assign homework

  1. Thirty Students. Forty minutes. And, a thick book for reference. You need to complete the syllabus, administer tests, and prepare your kids for the end of year testing. There is seldom enough time for meaningful practice.

  2. Practice is essential. It can ensure lasting success. If you want students to achieve concept mastery, you must help them practice as much as they can.

  3. It cultivates good study habits. Regular homework forces students to plan their out-of-school time. In short, they learn to schedule their study and play time.

  4. Homework helps improve self-confidence. They become surer about their skills, and come well-prepared to the next class.

  5. It helps develop research skills.

  6. For some students, especially struggling students, classroom instruction isn’t enough. They need to practice as much as they can.

  7. It forces students to review their classwork. It helps reinforce the concepts.

  8. As a teacher, I want my class to stay ahead. Homework is the best way to use student time to achieve this goal.

  9. Few subjects demand a regular practice. For example, math is a subject with needs rigorous practice.

  10. Homework allows students to apply themselves.

  11. It is one of the best tools to judge what students have actually understood.

  12. Challenging homework assignments force students to think out of the box.


With time, I have come to realize that homework doesn’t always work. Most kids consider it as a burden, and complete it mechanically.


Why homework seldom works?

More homework means, lesser time to play, and lesser time to relax. In most of the cases, they stay up late, avoid out-of-school commitments, and play lesser. It causes stress, affects their health.


  1. Forced study never works

    Even those who submit the homework, do so unwillingly.

  1. A lot of homework means zero play-time

    A lot of homework leaves hardly any time for the play-time. For several kids, play-time is the only time when they get some exercise.

  1. Uncommitted practice seldom works

    Kids love to explore. Unfortunately, more homework also means lesser time to explore. This reduces their commitment to submit their work.

  1. Homework fuels burn-outs

    It has become a major source of stress for the students and their families. The burn-outs begin with the homework, and could easily force a kid to dislike school.

  1. It reduces relaxation time

    Again, dealing with a load of assignments demands a lot of time and effort. It causes stress, and it eats into their relaxation time.


The point is- a lot of homework can actually hinder student progress. If it’s eating up their play-hours and forcing them to stress-out, it’s totally not beneficial for them.

Howbeit, can a teacher really avoid giving homework? The answer is no! You just can’t avoid it.


8 Tips to make homework work

  1. Talk with your students. Find out the time they can devote to homework every day.

  2. Teach time management skills; help them plan their out-of-school hours.

  3. Involve their parents in the conversation. Regularly enquire, if their kids are happy with their homework or not.

  4. Do not make it a compulsion. Avoid giving unnecessary homework.

  5. Plan the assignments to be interesting, fun and easy.

  6. Encourage students to study in groups (even at home).

  7. Be flexible with due dates. Don’t make it a compulsion to allot weekend assignments.

  8. Let them choose their homework.

Encourage them to share their out-of-school commitments with you. Avoid any possible clashes with their family-time.

Most importantly, help your kids and their parents understand the value of homework.


Homework can be a beneficial tool if used efficiently. It helps students review classwork; and moves them a step closer to their goals. However, if it has been causing burn-outs in your classroom, you need to revisit your homework strategy.


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