EDUCATION TRIBUNE

Does holiday homework serve the purpose?
Arvinder Kaur
H
oliday homework, an entrenched tradition in our education system, is fast taking a hit from parents and psychologists alike, who feel that holidays are a time to bring out childís creativity rather than push him under the load of work.

The art of writing
Shiv Ram Moudgil
T
he instinct to see oneís name in print is as strong as the instinct to see oneself photographed. But one must bear in mind that while posing for a photograph requires no effort, seeing oneís name in print does. 

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Does holiday homework serve the purpose?
Arvinder Kaur

Holiday homework, an entrenched tradition in our education system, is fast taking a hit from parents and psychologists alike, who feel that holidays are a time to bring out childís creativity rather than push him under the load of work.

Moreover, researchers say there is no solid evidence to support that it is a way of improving academic achievement.

In fact, John Bull, the co-author of "The End of Homework", says it disrupts families, overburdens children and limits learning.

"Holiday homework, especially when it relates to curriculum, defeats the whole purpose of holidays and bringing out childís creativity. Most of the time it relates to the curriculum, as teachers think of this time as a shortcut to finishing the syllabus," says Kusum Jain, convener, Parents Forum for Meaningful Education.

"On an average, a school has 125 working days whereas the syllabus is designed for 210 days. Because of the shortage of workdays, schools resort to shortcuts, use vacations and extra classes to finish it," says Ms Jain.

However, Dr Sangeeta Bhatia, Principal, New State Academy, says: "Most of the schools in recent years have changed the pattern of school homework. It is more fun, creative, and helps develop knowledge skills in children."

Arguing in favour of giving adequate homework, Dr Bhatia says: "There is mushrooming of summer workshops everywhere. If a child has nothing to do at home, the parents have no choice but to send him to these centres, which is more of a burden for them."

"So it is any day better to give meaningful homework in which the child can be occupied during the holidays," says Dr Bhatia.

Brushing aside the argument that homework is a burden for parents, Dr Bhatia says: "The schools no longer give credit for quality work done by parents. The thrust is on developing the creativity of the child, not getting great work done."

However, Vandana, a mother of a three-year old, says: "You donít expect a nursery student to make cutouts for the school notice board, when he does not know how to handle a scissor."

"Moreover, teachers specify that all models and charts should be made neatly as they have to be displayed... so whom is the homework for ó the child or the parent," she argues.

Ms Jain says: "Holiday homework should be more Ďopen endedí, let children do whatever they want to do ó studies, hobbies, etc. ó and then they can make a report, which can be submitted in the class."

Holiday homework, more often than not, becomes a bone of contention between parents and children ó parents become more of a villain and the child a rebel, says Dr Aruna Broota, a psychologist.

"Rather than fun, it becomes more of a duty, with parents fretting over it and seeing them ó children ó developing negative attitude towards homework," says Dr Broota.

Moreover, as far as older children are concerned, most of them resent homework as they feel "no teacher is going to check it and their efforts would be wasted."

But Dr Bhatia feels that these arguments are of the days gone by. "Most schools today give weightage to the homework and marks are given for the work done, which is added to the mid-term examination and this is specified to the students in advance."

Rather than fretting over the homework, Buell and Kraveloc, in their book, say: "Achieve a balance between work and play."

Agrees Dr Broota: "When homework has to be done, do it willingly. Parents should not fret, as children develop negative tendencies, and school administrators too should make it more lively and interesting."

Holidays are fun, and so can homework be! ó PTI
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The art of writing
Shiv Ram Moudgil

The instinct to see oneís name in print is as strong as the instinct to see oneself photographed. But one must bear in mind that while posing for a photograph requires no effort, seeing oneís name in print does. In order to be able to write something, reading is of paramount importance; reading gives you ideas which stay in your mind, react with your own and then stand expressed.

Besides reading, a keen observation also helps. Observing life as it is lived, critically examining it and your capacity to improve it gives you plots for stories, novels, dramas or whatever other genre of literature you may choose.

Observing mother nature and its various phenomena also tends to elevate you to a higher level of sensitivity. You soon feel like putting your observation on paper or canvas. Thus, you write or paint landscape, rainbow, the setting sun, the rising moon, the undulating vast blue ocean, the clouds, the showers, the springs, the waterfalls, the cool presence and the warm breath of nature when summer just sets in.

By and by the observed discipline, the rhythm, the unity and unfailing discipline of nature get transfused into artistic excellence and begins to show itself in whatever you may create as an artist. This is the great advantage that the observer of nature has over the observer of life, for, whereas nature seldom ever deviates from its pathway, human life keeps passing from one colour to another.

A heart that feels and a mind that observes and records and an artistic sense which checks both from going extreme can alone be of help; for a heart which is incapable of feeling cannot show itself out, even if it does, the image reflected on the screen/page/canvas will be far from being satisfactory.

Most important: an artist must have abundant patience. That is what we learn from nature. Finally, how long or short oneís writing should be? There is no fixed criterion. A lyric of 14 lines can be as important a work of art as any voluminous novel. The golden rule: avoid using a single extra word.
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Jun 30 IGNOU, Maidan Garhi, New Delhi 110068.

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Appln F: Send Rs 550/- by DD/IPO favoring "IGNOU" payable at the city of RC or HQ by 15 Jul or díload from website. Write your name, add & prog on rev of DD.

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