A ringing indictment of homework and what can replace it
Closing the Book on Homework
Enhancing Public Education and Freeing Family Time
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In this, the sequel to his critically acclaimed and controversial The End of Homework, John Buell extends his case against homework. Arguing that homework robs childrenand parentsof unstructured time for play and intellectual and emotional development, Closing the Book on Homework offers a convincing case for why homework is an outgrowth of broader cultural anxieties about the sanctity of work itself.
After the publication of Buell's previous book, many professional educators portrayed reducing homework as a dangerous idea, while at the same time parents and teachers increasingly raised doubts as to its continued usefulness in education.
According to John Buell, the importance of play is culturally underappreciated. Not only grade schoolers, but high school students and adult workers deserve time for the kind of leisure that fosters creativity and sustains a life long interest in learning. Homework is assigned for many reasons, many having little to do with learning, including an accepted, if unchallenged, belief that it fosters good work habits for children's futures. As John Buell argues convincingly, homework does more to obstruct the growth of children's minds, and consumes the time of parents and children who may otherwise develop relationships that foster true growth and learning.
A unique book that is sure to fuel the growing debate on school reform, Closing the Book on Homework offers a roadmap for learning that will benefit the wellbeing of children, parents, and teachers alike.
John Buell on homework:
"John Buell's Closing the Book on Homework is a unique and timely contribution to the torrid debate and about whether the heavy burdens of homework and standardized tests actually improve education. What marks this book from the others is that, in addition to thorough reviews and refutations, Buell places education and homework in the contexts of the global economy, the fiscal crisis of the states, and the emergence of the rote styles of learning as the dominant educational technology. Teachers, researchers, parents, indeed everyone concerned with the fate of our kids cannot afford to miss this powerful book."
"[R]eaders new to Buell's argument will find much in this book to think about and, possibly, to act upon."
"Sure to fuel the growing debate on school reform, Closing the Book on Homework offers a roadmap for learning that will benefit the wellbeing of children, parents, and teachers alike."
"...a sequel to his controversial The End of Homework. Buell extends his case against homework, arguing that it robs childrenand parentsof unstructured time for play, as well as intellectual and emotional development."
Read an article, "Overworked and underplayed?" on usnews.com about John Buell and homework.
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In the series
Teaching/Learning Social Justice, edited by Lee Anne Bell.
The series Teaching/Learning Social Justice, edited by Lee Anne Bell, is concerned with educational practices that promote democracy and equality in a diverse society. "Social Justice" is used as an umbrella term for the many topics and concerns connoted by the terms democracy, equality, and diversity, while the term "Teaching/Learning" emphasizes the essential connections between theory and practice that this series examines. Books in the series will look at a broad range of educational arenas to examine the many ways people engage diversity, democracy, and social change in classrooms and communities. The series will draw on the lived experiences of people who struggle to critically analyze and challenge oppressive relationships and institutions, and to imagine and create more just and inclusive alternatives. The series' focus will be on both popular education and education in formal institutions, and its audience is educators and activists who believe in the possibility of social change through education.