Homework? Leave kids alone | india | Hindustan Times
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Homework? Leave kids alone

Many parents, wanting the best for their offspring's school career, and mindful of looming reports, often sit down in the evening to help their budding academics with their homework.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2006 15:30 IST
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Many parents, wanting the best for their offspring's school career, and mindful of looming reports, often sit down in the evening to help their budding academics with their homework.

But too much help can be counter-productive, warn German education experts. They say "parents can sometimes help most by giving no help at all."

Homework is not just about getting the right results on the report card. It's also about personal development and learning independence. "The child should realise that good results and success take effort," said Ulrich Trautwein of Berlin-based Max Planck Institute for Educational Research. When parents pitch in with the answers, this lesson often goes unlearned.

If the parents struggle with the exercises themselves, the resulting stress can have a "doubly negative" effect, Trautwein pointed out. Parents should be ready to give help and advice when kids ask for it but in measured amounts, said Eiko Juergens of the University of Bielefeld. "Sometimes it's enough to go through the question together carefully."

Parents should explore with their children's ways of problem solving and of approaching questions, so that they can learn to work independently on their own. "Parents should also take care not to hover beside their kids during homework time," said Josef Kraus of a German teachers' association.

"Parents occupy a position of trust, they're not teaching assistants. Sometimes, if they exert too much pressure from above, the child can hide the homework to avoid the pressure," Kraus said.
Parents should also resist the temptation to improve children's work. "They're doing the child no favours," insisted Kraus.