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impracticable unless the school day itself is lengthened, while the large classes in most city schools make it extremely difficult for the teacher to give more attention to the needs of the individual pupils.

The situation, however, is sufficiently acute, to require the careful attention of educators. Home work has become an important school problem, and all practical and progressive pedagogues should try to find ways and means to deal more intelligently with this feature of elementary education.

Thru the cooperation of the members of the New York Academy of Public Education, a serious investigation of the home-work problem was undertaken.

A Committee of Administration was appointed consisting of the following members:

Emma L. Johnston, Principal Brooklyn Training School, Henry E. Jenkins, District Superintendent of Schools, Charles W. Lyons, District Superintendent of Schools, William J. O'Shea, District Superintendent of Schools, Arthur C. Perry, District Superintendent of Schools, Albert Shiels, Director Bureau of Reference and Research, Edward W. Stitt, District Superintendent of Schools,

Chairman. After considerable conference, discussion and spondence, the following questionnaire was prepared:



(1) Is home work for children to be recommended? If so, why? If not, why?

(2) In what grades (if any) should home work or home study be prohibited?

(3) What is the maximum amount of home study which should be assigned for the following grades: 7A, 7B, 8A, 8B.

(4) What habits should we seek to form or strengthen by the assignment of home work?

(5) Should we aim to make home study a real function in the education of the child on the ground that we thus do something for the home as well as for the school?

(6) What methods or devices can you suggest to secure the honesty and effectiveness of home work?

(7) How may teachers check up home work without interfering with regular recitations or causing too serious a strain upon the teacher's energy?

(8) What facilities may be afforded by schools for afternoon or evening study rooms? (9) Home work in higher grades will usually consist of:

(1) Study (reading, committing to memory, and like

subjects) and (2) Written work (arithmetic, grammar, map draw

ing, and others). Suggest the proper ratio of (1) and (2). (10) Do you favor a plan to give definite credit for satisfactory home work, as has been done in the west in recognizing outside work in cooking, home chores, piano practise, and the like? 10

(11) Should the study period be used for actual study, or for the proper explanation of assignment for home study, or both?

(12) Remarks and suggestions:

Over six hundred replies were received. The following table shows the rank of the various educators who sent their answers to the committee:

Superintendents, boards of examiners and professors of train

ing schools.....
Principals of high schools and training schools..
Principals of elementary schools....
Assistant principals of elementary schools..
Class teachers of elementary schools...






Total. ..... In many cases, the replies submitted by the principals and assistant principals were the results of special conferences held with their teachers; therefore they probably express the opinions of at least 2000 teachers.

Replies were received from teachers and principals of schools in all five boroughs of our city, in neighborhoods which may be classified as follows: Residential, average American, foreign and poor. Care was taken to secure the opinions of our most representative principals, and of those who have the highest reputation for broad scholarship, pedagogic training, and long experience. The writer has been able to consult all of this valuable material in preparing this paper.

10 See semi-annual report of July 1, 1914, by Dr. Shiels, p. 35.

The Academy of Education is preparing to print a complete summary of the results of the investigation, with the detailed facts and statistics included under the various questions submitted for consideration. Permission has been granted, however, for the advance publication of the recommendations which are the consensus of all the written replies, and which have also received the unanimous approval of the Committee on Administration. This summary of the report is given at the conclusion of this article.

The discussion of the general topic has been divided into four parts:

(A) The use of home work.
(B) The abuse of home work.
(C) Limitations of home work.
(D) Plans for improvement.


THE USE OF HOME WORK The following are suggested as the chief uses of home work in supplementing the class instruction of the elementary schools:

(1) For purposes of drill.
(2) For purposes of review.
(3) To satisfy parents.
(4) To furnish a useful home occupation.
(5) To strengthen necessary habits.
(6) As a preparation for high school.
(7) As a preparation for life.

FOR PURPOSES OF DRILL Many teachers believe that as a result of the new courses which have been added to the curriculum in recent years, there is less time than there formerly was for the oldfashioned drill in the three R's. It has, therefore, become almost impossible to use very much of the pupil's school time for that necessary drill which is the only means of securing a thoro training in the essentials of education. Repetitio mater studiorum, a maxim for which we owe a debt of gratitude to the early Jesuit teachers, was a fitting companion to that thoroness of work upon which they insisted. Both of these principles have as their foundation the need of consistent drill and study.

As a rule, however, the crowded curriculum leaves little time for this work in school, so that the teachers must require their pupils to spend some time in study at home. By this repeated drill, at least a part of the mechanics of arithmetic, including the multiplication tables, and those used in denominate numbers is learned. Spelling, facts in history, geography, and part of the required work in technical grammar come under the same classification, but in no case does it include new work, or that for which parental assistance or explanation may be required.

FOR PURPOSES OF REVIEW The five hours of the ordinary school day are usually too short to permit of a consistent survey of the work accomplished in the class. It is, therefore, necessary to have lessons in review assigned for home preparation. History, geography, arithmetic and reading are the chief subjects which seem to demand this extra study. The lessons should, however, be assigned with the greatest care, for teachers too often assign tasks far beyond the physical ability of their pupils, and thus interfere with what should be their proper rest and recreation. “In nothing is the wise teacher more painstaking than in assigning lessons. The pre-survey prepares the pupils for successful study. "11

Review lessons should be so arranged that the attention of the pupils is directed to particular parts of the general topic under discussion. If, for instance, the class in geography has finished the study of South America, it will be of no value to assign that general subject for the next day's lesson. The teacher must indicate some special topics or questions for the pupils to consider. If the class in history has finished the Revolutionary War, it is unwise for the teacher to assign p. 90-127 as the lesson for the next day; he should either divide the class into groups and give each one a different topic to prepare, or else he should assign some general topics to all.

11 School management, p. 162, Dr. James Baldwin (D. Appleton & Co.). 12 Handbook of practice for teachers, p. 65, Charles A. McMurry (The Macmillan Co., 1914).

HOME WORK TO SATISFY THE PARENTS In many neighborhoods, the parents wish their children to study at home; otherwise, they feel that a privilege is being denied them. They are often willing to assist the children, tho such assistance frequently decreases the spirit of independent research which proper home work should encourage. Often the advice given by the parents is injudicious and sometimes it is incorrect; so that the best plan is for the teacher to assign tasks within the known ability of the normal child. “Among the channels thru which time runs to waste in schools is the hasty, loose, and unpremeditated assignment of lessons.

assignment of lessons. Thus questions, disputes and unreasonable requirements arise. Such faulty assignments are prolific in bad results. 12

If the teachers exercise proper care in assigning lessons, and give all necessary explanations, home work will cease to be a sort of partnership production of parent and pupil, in which the latter is too often a silent partner. There is no harm in requesting that the parent shall inspect the written work to see if it is neat and gives evidence of careful preparation, and occasionally it is well for them to sign the exercises written by their children, as an indication that the work has received some parental attention.

A principal of one of the largest schools in the city told me recently that when a regular teacher was absent and a substitute was in charge, if no lessons were assigned for home study the next day brought many angry protests from the parents. In view of this fact, he himself assigns the home work in the absence of the regular teachers.

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