Relating school policies and staff attitudes to the homework behaviours of teachers: An empirical study
Research on homework has typically focused on students' beliefs, commitment to, and benefits of doing homework, but what about the influence of school policies and teachers' beliefs and attitudes on the topic? Do schools with stricter rules and a clearer focus have teachers giving more homework? Are teachers who believe in the virtues of homework as a learning device and a convenient means for communicating with the home more likely to give, collect, mark, and return homework to students than teachers who see no benefits? This study developed a valid, reliable instrument, the homework attitude and behaviour inventory for teachers (HABIT), and administered it to 120 teachers in two schools with a clear, focused homework policy, and two without. Findings were that schools with a well-defined homework policy had teachers who: gave, collected, marked, and returned homework significantly more often; and believed in the usefulness of these assignments. Multiple regressions showed a significant relationship between beliefs about homework, the homework behaviours, and the types of assignments made (repeat classwork, introduce new materials, explore new ideas, pursue imaginative topics at home). Regressing homework attitudes and school policies against teacher homework behaviours produced an adjusted R-square of 49.5 (p < 0.001).
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