This part of Hollande’s address was entirely in line with his liberal principals.As president of France’s (Socialist Party), Hollande recognizes homework as an anti-egalitarian instrument that benefits children who come from wealthy backgrounds, who have healthy working environments that are conducive to learning, and who have parents willing to lend time and energy to helping them.
In a recent tutorial, a 16 year-old Italian student of mine had to write a two-page critique in English of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s – a poem so archaic that even I as a mother-tongue English speaker struggle in parts.
I’m not for one moment questioning the value of studying literature, but writing an essay on Romantic English literature when your spoken English is too elementary to accurately verbally communicate seems like a waste of time. In another tutorial, a student’s homework was to translate a page of dense grammatical explanations (meant for advanced adults) about the third-conditional into Italian; an exercise that astounded me not only because of the dastardly difficulty and pointlessness of the task, but also because my students English-comprehension was so low that it soon became apparent that the nervous boy sitting before me had absolutely no idea what he was reading.
Homework is one of unique evils that all of us can relate to.
Whether it plagued our evenings or weekends – or, for those unfortunate enough to be homeschooled, every waking hour, – for each of us homework evokes an individualized and vivid set of memories.
Parents are, however, in a difficult situation when it comes to appeasing the school and enforcing its completion.
Homework Should Not Be Given
For those who believe in the educational benefits of homework (see the concerned parental response above), there isn’t too much of an issue.
France is an excellent comparison for the US, for its education system is broadly similar: the school day lasts roughly from a.m. though with the difference that most students have Wednesdays, Saturday afternoons and Sundays off.
With children of both countries spending a similar amount of time at school, this means that Hollande’s proposal could readily be implemented, if not at least seriously debated, in the US. The reason is that homework favors society’s elites, and these elites want to maintain the status quo.
Looking back, constantly leaving my homework until the last minute was no more than a matter of course.
For a guitar-obsessed teenager who would invest more time in the Play Station than in any given chemistry or biology textbook, homework was always going to take a back seat, as it did amongst my peers.