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Homework assistance : a study and comparison of two schools

By Nancy Gergis


This is a comparative study examining one school with scheduled homework assistance andone school without homework help tuition. The study has investigated the use of the schoolbasedhomework assistance program at a grade school in a municipality outside of Stockholm.To what extent do the pupils use this resource, and what are their attitudes to it? Do theyregard it as a useful resource? What is the opinion of the teachers involved, do they findhomework tuition relevant and meaningful?The governing documents for the Swedish schools do not make the handing out of homeworkmandatory, and do not require that schools organize homework assistance. The emphasis inconnection with homework is that pupils should learn to take responsibility for their ownstudies. There is, however, a commersial market for homework assistance, at prices that arenot accessible for most parents, and some municipal schools have stared programs forhomework tuition. This resource is costly also for the individual school, and my interviews inthe other school, that did not offer this resource to their pupils, illustrated the kind of factorsthat can be involved in a decision not to afford it. The teachers interviewed in the school with home work assistance related their argumentsabout homework to the steering document. They offer their students homework to give theopportunity to take personal responsibility for their own studies while learning the timeperspective too. The majority of pupils in this school have a positive attitude to homeworkand the homework assistance that the school has organized for them. From observations andinterviews made in this study it can be stated that the pupils use the homework assistanceresource because they think they learn more when the teacher is there, and can be asked toassist. The homework becomes much easier and more relevant for them.The reason that schools offer homework assistance is to give all the pupils the sameopportunity to receive help with their studies and to show the right way and lead the way toachieving the goals. In Sweden it is up to each school to determine what resources they wantto have. This study provides insight on how the homework assistance resource used in arelevant way. The study shows how the responsibility that lies on a teacher in encouraging pupils to do theirhomework and to attend to the scheduled homework assistance when they need.Key words: Homework, homework assistance, teaching, resource, grade school (compulsoryschool

Publisher: Södertörns högskola, Lärarutbildningen
Year: 2010
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