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Teachers’ perspective on homework in Swedish elementary school
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2012 (English)Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Homework has long been applied and routinized within the Swedish school, although there are no demands or guidelines stated in the national curricula. In this field, there is an absence of reflections and research on if and in what way the existed homework practice in Swedish schools improves children’s learning. This paper examines the complexity of homework issue out of teachers’perspectives aiming at understanding the pedagogical application and social implications of homework supported by the contextual and constructive learning approaches. The specific empirical questions are:

1) How do teachers perceive the purposes of homework?

2) What are the pedagogical assumptions that support the design and management ofhomework assignment?

3) What are teachers’ expectations and view on parents' support in homework, and what kinds ofstrategies do they use in order to promote parents’ involvement in homework to improvepupils’ learning?

The empirical data consisted of an online questionnaire responded by 101 teachers in elementary schools from a municipality located in the northern part of Sweden, complemented with six in-depth interviews with individual teachers from the same sample group. Result revealed that teachers classified the importance of confirming knowledge and skills of children through homework higher than the improvement and development of other social aspects associated with homework. Motivation, individual diversity and condition, appropriation, repetition and feedback were those terms frequently mentioned by teachers related to questions concerning homework assignment. Teachers had high expectation on parents’ engagement and support in homework but they also reported that it was difficult to be realized in practice due to parents’ limited knowledge, competence and time, as well as other obstacles such as lack of communication concerning homework between teachers and parents. The findings from this study provided some crucial information useful for school leaders and personal in developing homework strategies and practice. Homework needs to be planed, discussed and reflected more extensively among teacher groups in school in order to enhance teaching and learning. Parents and pupils should have more opportunity to be involved in and to influence homework assignment to realize and increase the academic and social benefits with homework.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-57267OAI: diva2:540594
The 40th NFPF/NERA Congress, Everyday life, education and their transformations in a Nordic and globalized context, March 8-10, 2012, Copenhagen
Available from: 2012-07-10 Created: 2012-07-10 Last updated: 2012-08-20Bibliographically approved

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Gu, LiminKristoffersson, Margaretha
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