PARENTS in Spain have called for a ‘homework strike’ to protest the amount of extracurricular work they have to do with their children.
Around 50% of parents now believe that the burden of homework on children has become too much and is detrimental to family life.
“Parents who join the strike will formally ask schools not to set homework over November weekends,” said a statement from CEAPA, Spain’s umbrella organisation representing 12,000 parent associations across Spain.
“If schools do anyway then parents will send in a note excusing their children for not having done the work with the explanation why,” it said.
Recent studies have revealed that 1 in 5 kids in Spain spend two-and-a-half hours a day on homework.
This exceeds guidelines in Madrid, which say year one students (five year olds) should receive 10 minutes worth of homework a day, which should increase by 10 minutes each year.
This means a 12-year-old should not be doing any more than 1 hour and 20 minutes a day, but parents claim they are doing far more.
The so-called homework problem is traceable several things: uneven teaching abilities and poor school management; dated curricula influenced by religion and legacy politics, e.g., bizarre secondary courses in philosophy which bears little resemblance to philosophical and critical thinking, but is dominated by the ‘correct Spanish’ interpretaion of ‘Spanish letters.’
And, finally, parents’ detachment from their children’s educational process, as if education is somebody else’s job, not something parents need be concerned, especially, if schooling interferes with town social life, e.g., secondary school children staying out till mid night; or ‘interfering’ with parent’s social life, e.g., the biquitous drunken fiestas.
Several decades ago U of Chicago and other universities did studies to see why Asian and Indian immigrants did better in school than non-immigrant mainstream groups. There was but one influencing factor: Asian and Indian parents take self-improvement for ALL family members seriously and designated time everyday, including weekends, where as a family, all studied – adults their adult education courses, and children, their school homework. The studies showed that children learned that learning is more important than bars, clubs, sports, TV or hanging out at the mall or discos. That was the variable.
So, these Spanish parents’ misguided attitudes of ‘too much homework’ will keep their 19 year old children nearby to work in local non-skilled or semi-skilled jobs for the sake of an out-dated concept of family togetherness instead of preparing them to enter universities and professions such as medicine, science, education and engineering as do parents of other children who value knowledge and learning.
As for the publc school system? It will continue to waste young people’s time, mental energy and human resources – and Spain will stridently muddle on lobbying for more EU subsidies to support their consumer lifestyles, which many view as entitlement.
You don’t mention the equally important qualifications of mechanics, welders, builders, painters, tilers, plummers, fitters etc, etc, etc why?
I say let children be children making happier self sufficient adults should be the goal of education not churning the american ideal of what it should be.
Yes, I should mentioned all the skilled trades. It was omitted because the studies were made with students intending to go to college, not trade or technical schools.
I am among the many Americans who want our vocational scondary courses reinstated, as many cities are doing in partnership with enterprises, similar to the German and Scandinavian models.
I’m not too worried. By the time todays infant school children are ready to enter university there will be cheap multimaterial 3D printers in every home which will make almost anything you’d want, free green solar electricity will power it and strong AI will design it and the exponential improvements in medicine will ensure you have the time to enjoy it. So relax, the future is brighter than you think and if you live long enough you’ll live forever.
How do the children learn to think? Cognitive development needs interaction with others, and not just family or religious cults.
Educated people need more than just technical skills lest political ideologues fill their minds with fascism communism, churchism: Catholicism, Zionism, islam. Democracy of ant kind cannot develop as long as education is defined as job skills. People eedto think outside of the usual proscriptions, then useoral and ethical reasoning to decide what to do – not just follow orders of ‘their’ guru.
I’m with Boulder on this one. The model of life depicted in (seriously) Star Trek and spin-off fantasies, is just as likely as doom and destruction. It will be a close-run thing though.
Chas I still have an excellent book written by a man of the Cheyenne,Heymistosis Storm, it’s called – Seven Arrows. In just a few pages he outlines how the children were taught by the Peace chief – an object lesson for the white invaders – they still hav’nt learned. Interesting that when they looked into the eyes of white Christian preachers, all they could see was insanity.
Stuart, Have you read Louise Erdrich, ‘The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse: A Novel’? Erdrich is a native American from North Dakota, and has written many books based on her childhood memories and oral traditions of her relatives and neighbors who loved through the occupation and removal of her people from their land by catholic missionaries and the military. I would recommend ‘The Last Report’ based on disdain of the destructive effects of religion on people’s lives.
But her talent nludes hilarious tales of shenanigans such as moose riding. Her handling of the priest and nuns on the reservation schools is equally delicious.
When teaching Child Development I often referred students to ‘The Dog Whisperer’ to understand how to teach without using words, anger or agression. Cesar Millan’ technique: exercise and play, respect and affection. Simple and effective when adapted to human children. The big lesson is that when the child is acting out, the parents, not the child is responsible. ‘Child centered’ means what is necessary from the point of view of development and not from the point of view of crazy, neurotic guilt-ridden, affluent parents who spend their time in fiesta, pubs and shopping malls.
Hav’nt heard of Louise Erdrich but will look up her work – sad that she has a European/German name. Having seen first hand how few working people in the UK actually took any real interest in what their children were being taught or making sure that they supervised homework,I’m not all surprised only appalled how inarticulate, innumerate and sadly lacking in confidence so many UK children are today. It’s bizarre just how many bad traits the English and the Spanish share. Real, education = real investment in the future.
Erdrich has a German name because many Germans settled in The Dakotas at the end of 19th C. Of special interest are the German POWs from the Great Plains prison camps who, if served their time and wanted to stay, immigrated and inter-married with local women. Erdrich’s ‘The Master Butchers Singing Club’ deals in part with German’s who settled and opened small businesss, in this case a sausage shop. Likely that explains her name’s origin. Erdrich is likely America’s most mportant living author. She runs a bookstore in Minneapolis.