The impact of homework on a child's motivation to learn in primary education
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Homework assignments are part of a child’s daily routine; however, homework is becoming a subject much debated by teachers, parents and children. This study examined homework solely from the perspective of the child, in order to determine the impact it has on their motivation to learn. This is an original piece of research. The researcher’s goal was to increase the effectiveness of homework activities within the class, using the experiences and suggestions of the children as inspiration to do so. The subjects for this research project were primary school children in rural Ireland, at fourth-class level, aged 9-10 years. This is a predominantly qualitative study. The researcher adopted a case study approach with the use of a focus group interview and an open-ended survey to collect data. Thematic analysis was used to gain a thorough insight into the different experiences with homework, based on responses from a focus group and survey. The children identified many benefits associated with homework: improved academic achievement, communication with parents and the development of concentration, organization and time-management skills. The challenges children face in relation to time, quantity, difficulty, interest levels, emotions, family support and relationships were also highlighted. This research further examined a child’s motivation for homework completion and established a range of suggestions from the children for homework improvement. This topic of homework is under-researched, particularly from a child’s perspective in Ireland. As a result, this research is both important and relevant. Overall, findings for this study indicate that although the majority of children dislike having to do homework, they value it as a tool to enhance their learning and personal development. The children have made constructive suggestions for homework improvement, including fewer activities each night and more frequent use of project work to provide choice in their learning. This dissertation highlights that in order to make effective change with homework, the perspective of the children is invaluable.
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