Ellie Tomasson is a Senior at Clayton High School. She has worked on the Globe since her freshman year. She is now Chief Managing Editor of the Globe. She joined Globe because...
Learning and Life
April 30, 2017
I realize that I’m going to be on the less popular side of this argument. Believe me – I understand the stress of break homework.
Even the words break homework together sound discordant. But I am still a proponent of break work.
That being said, I do not think all break homework is created equal. I am not advocating for soul sucking math packets or extensive research projects, but a more enjoyable and invigorating alternative.
What I am primarily against is the harsh divide between school life and personal life. In this split schema, school is something slogged through and endured in order to get to live life on the weekends and on breaks.
But this is a very backwards way to approach learning that benefits nobody. The only thing kids are taught in the classroom is to hate the classroom.
The chasm between academic life and emotional life propagates the culture of achievement-based success and learning that plagues CHS. This way learning is confined to the classroom and left behind when you leave. The idea that break work could alleviate this problem may seem counterintuitive because break work seems like it would be playing into the intensity and pressure of school, but I think properly administered, break homework can do just the opposite.
Many opponents of break homework argue that kids should be kids and not be forced to learn in their break time. Break work helps integrate learning into leisure time so that the two can become somewhat associated. Break work can help to kindle a curiosity and love of learning within students.
Break work is completely ineffective in this respect if students are not motivated or interested enough to do it. Busywork and work that does not interest students only causes them to procrastinate. In order for students to get something out of break homework there should be some element of choice in break work.
This should be guided choice with enough room for kids to find something that piques their interest. For example, students could chose books, poems, articles, videos, or other information transmission methods to look into a topic related to the course subject. Break work is always going to be dreadful if it is not of interest to the students, so why not let the students choose what interests them.
Now, this method is not meant to move the curriculum forward and try to use break time as regular school time, but just as light stimulation to keep the brain engaged over break as opposed to compartmentalizing our mental space.
The period of education in a person’s life is the time of finding one’s identity. It should be a time of absorbing knowledge and exploring the world guided by parents and teachers.
Students should be encouraged to learn throughout their lives, not just when they’re sitting in a classroom.
This training will help students continue learning even after their formal education is over.