09.29.15 | Bilingualism, Education

Homework: Keep it, Trash it, or Reinvent it

smiling French campers doing written activities

Ah yes, homework: the never-ending source of tension and discussion between parents and children.

If you’ve heard bits and pieces of the new homework debate, then you’ll definitely want to read today’s post for highlights of the new discussions and homework trends in classrooms around the GTA.

Now more than ever, there is a new tendency to complete homework assignments in class, while students are expected to complete their lessons at home. This is a more hands-on approach that many teachers have been adopting into their daily class regime. This movement is called “flipped classrooms”, and it is being embraced around the world, including right here in Canada in our own backyard.

Read this article to learn more about Flipped classrooms.

When it comes to learning a language, would it not make more sense to do the “hands-on practice” (reading and speaking) part of the learning in class with the French speaking teacher? And then the “listening to a lecture “ part of the learning on a video at home?


What are your thoughts? Would you like to learn even more about this new movement? Read this article published on omaha.com


Beyond this new tendency, there is increasingly a trend toward assigning less homework.

Do you think there should be more or less homework?

This is another important point of debate.

According to various research papers, there is little evidence connecting the length of homework and school achievement. In fact, Stanford’s research results suggest that too much homework can actually diminish its effectiveness, or even be counterproductive. Their prior studies cite that homework benefits plateau at about two hours per night, and that 90 minutes to two and a half hours is optimal for high school. See this article summarizing their research .

At best, for some students, there might be some minor improvement in test results.  However, it is more likely that homework does not have a lasting effect on learning. According to Alfie Kohn, a widely known researcher and writer in the areas of education, parenting and human behavior, homework appears to benefit only certain groups of students and only in particular conditions.

He suggests that instead of assigning homework merely because of “policy”, it is best to assign homework only when it enhances the learning of the student.

Advice for French homework: One of the reasons many parents dread homework time is because a fight often results from asking their children to do their homework with them.So if when you ask your child to do their “dictée” with you, and you hear: “Mom/ Dad you don’t know what I have to do!” You’re not alone.

French campers coloring their activities bookHere’s what you can do instead: Turn the dictée or French study practice into a growing and learning experience for the both of you. Demonstrate your own enthusiasm to learn French so when you ask your child to practice with you, they don’t feel it is an attack against them or a yawn-inducing chore. Make it fun. You might even want to introduce competitions and let your child read the dictée to YOU while you write down the words and practice your spelling. This role reversal helps your child get more excited about studying French, while also helping them improve their French through oral practice and correcting your spelling mistakes.

Another way to keep up French practice is to suggest your child keeps a journal in French to record fun events and interesting parts of their day. This works especially well during vacation time or when you take a family trip. Homework is rarely completed during vacations, so instead, you might want to encourage your child to keep a journal to discuss the holiday, including: landscape, money, houses, villages, and way of life. Plus it makes for a great keepsake! Read this to discover how to transform your family holiday into a learning opportunity.

How do you approach homework with your child? Let us know in the comments below.


  1. My 5 yr old is struggling to keep her french, my husband spoke french and has died. I know a little. Nothing available in Burlington Ont. We will go to neighboring towns. do, french on internet,

    Comment by Catherine Gee on Wednesday October 14th, 2015 at 05:55 AM