Spanish parents tell children to boycott homework

Millions of Spanish children have been called out on strike this weekend, with families and teachers asked by a national parents’ association to say no to homework.

Spanish parents tell children to boycott homework

World Bulletin / News Desk

 In a move their contemporaries across the world would no doubt wish to imitate, Spanish schoolchildren are boycotting their homework this weekend on the orders of their parents.

In a protest at the amount of after-hours studying their children are set by schools, the Spanish Alliance of Parents’ Associations (CEAPA), which represents parent associations in around 12,000 schools, has called on parents to tell their children not to do homework over the weekend during November.

“In Spain, homework has excessively invaded family time and it forms part of an archaic learning method, which pressures children to memorize content just for the sake of exams,” Jose Luis Pazos, CEAPA president, told Anadolu Agency.

A 2012 report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showed that Spanish children average nearly 400 minutes of homework per week -- 100 minutes more than the OECD average. Turkish children do around 250 minutes a week.

Despite six-and-a-half hours of weekly homework, Spain’s educational performance falls below the OECD average, according to the report.

“We’re the European champions of homework but we perform very poorly,” Pazos said. “Obviously, those things are related. Education should be about motivating and giving kids the gusto to learn but what we do today is the complete opposite.”

CEAPA would encourage parents to spend quality time with their children in the time that would have been spent on homework, he added.

The boycott does not have the backing of any of Spain’s teachers’ unions. Instead they have accused CEAPA of pitting students against their teachers.

 Punishment

“I’m not a fan at all of giving homework but it’s very useful for a student to learn some key abilities such as self-discipline, organization and taking control of their own learning process,” Nathan Emery, a sixth grade teacher in Madrid, said.

“Plus, many of the parents complaining that quality time is stolen from the family should check on how much time Nintendo and television are taking.”

He added that parents could spend quality time with their children while helping them with their homework.

Educational research has not found any strong correlation between homework and educational performance in primary schools but a 2006 study from Duke University in the U.S., along with other studies, suggested homework had a positive influence on achievement in higher grades.

Schools in Finland and South Korea, which produce some of the highest-achieving students, both gave out less than 200 minutes of homework a week, according to the OECD report.

On the other hand, Shanghai, which in 2016 came top of the World Bank in terms of reading, mathematics and science, leads the world in homework, with nearly 13 hours per week.

Given teachers’ apparent opposition to the boycott, Pazos said he hoped a note from their parents would help pupils avoid punishment for failing to do their homework.

“It’s possible that in a minority of cases, the teacher will punish the student for not disobeying their parents,” he said. “In that case the teacher should really consider changing professions… Parents should look for agreements but if the teacher won’t budge, it’s complicated and we’d have to fight against it.”

A similar strike on homework was called by French parents in 2012.

Last Mod: 05 Kasım 2016, 16:33
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