Starting in April, a regulation prohibiting homework in Poland will take effect. However, one school in Lublin has been practising this rule for many years.
Homework has been a topic of debate among teachers for years. While some believe it helps reinforce concepts taught in class, others argue it takes away from children's free time. Education Minister Barbara Nowacka has recently announced that elementary school students will no longer receive homework assignments starting in April.
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A school in Lublin does not assign homework
The Paderewski International Primary School in Lublin has not assigned traditional homework for many years, so students there will not notice any change in this regard. As part of a unique program aimed at improving their reading skills, first-graders are required to read for 15 minutes each day as homework.
"We believe that students should primarily learn at school, where they spend a significant amount of time. We understand that students should not be burdened with excessive homework, as they need time to rest and engage in other activities. However, it's important to note that students may need to revise their lessons, prepare for exams, or participate in projects at home. This should be sufficient," said Izabela Kopik, deputy director of Paderewski, in an interview with Wprost.
Homework as a sin against childhood
Katarzyna Olejnik, the headmistress of Paderewski Primary School, believes homework should not be graded. She argues that it is difficult to determine if a child completed the work independently or with help from a parent, tutor, or friend.
At Paderewski, teachers treat students as individuals with the right to choose what they want to learn and how they want to learn it. They believe that assigning homework does not motivate students to learn but only forces them to follow instructions.
"Homework is a cardinal sin of the education process. The practice of assigning homework has become automatic and unquestioned in schools. I believe that instead of mindlessly assigning homework in every subject every day, teachers should question the purpose of the homework and whether it truly benefits the students," adds Olejnik.
Students are all for homework ban
Paderewski International Secondary School students appreciate not having homework. Jagoda Górna, who previously attended a school where homework was assigned, is one of those students.
"It was tough for me. Even since fourth grade, I would come home and spend most of my time studying. I hardly had any time for my hobbies or interests. But today, things are different. I play tennis professionally," she reveals in an interview with Wprost. Currently, the school she's enrolled in doesn't give out many assignments, and none are graded. "We do them for ourselves, and no one checks them. This is crucial because it takes off the pressure of being graded and pushed to complete something," emphasises Górna.
Dominika, another Paderewski International Secondary School student, agrees with Jagoda.
"In my opinion, homework assignments in science subjects can be beneficial, but they should not be graded and should not be mandatory. The main objective of homework should be to provide an opportunity for the students to test themselves and reinforce the material," she explained.