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Who Invented Homework and Why?

With the unending debates about whether or not homework is essential, have you ever pause to reflect on who invented homework and why. Well, I think, as a student, you may hate this person with passion because now you always need to seek somebody to help me with my homework when it's too difficult to finish. However, his invention has come to stay whether we like it or not. Therefore knowing something about him is worth it. 

The history of homework

According to search engines like Google, the inventor of homework was one Italian, Roberto Nevilis, in 1905. He used the practice as a form of punishment for students who misbehaved in his class. But how true is this? Apart from being attributed to the invention of homework, not much is known about Nevilis. Hence, some people think it is a made-up story.

Homework can be traced to the ancient days since the inception of education. It is believed that students at the time did homework in one form or the other while at home. This included reading, recitations, and playing musical instruments among others, to memorize what was taught in the classroom. An ancient Rome oratory teacher, Pliny the Younger, used this method to achieve the best out of his student. He asked his student to rehearse the act of public speaking at home to develop their oratory skills. As it became very productive, other teachers at the time encouraged their students to do the same.

Therefore, solely crediting Nevilis with the invention of homework is a little out of place. Yes, he built on it and made it famous as it has become. In addition, it is probably because, during his time, many people had access to education, unlike the ancient days where education was a reserve for the aristocrats. 

Why homework was invented 

As stated above, Nevilis used homework to punish his students, contrary to what the ancient educators did. Presently, home tasks have evolved to serve a greater good despite the controversies surrounding it.

But what has the various researches said about homework? Well, experts are divided about the benefits of homework. While some believe it’s a great way to reinforce skills and information, others think it is counterproductive. 

It is generally accepted that some forms of homework improve learning and skills development among adults. Even with that, the maximum amount of homework should be 2 hours. Nonetheless, research suggests that kids at the elementary level have no benefits from homework. At the stage in life, they should spend their time with family. With that said, why do teachers still assign a home task? 

  • To continue the learning process by ensuring students stick to their books even at home. Few students would like to learn after school; however, with homework, they have no option but to learn and solve them. 
  • It helps to reinforce information and skills acquisition. Repetition is the best way to master skills. Once students solve a problem over and over, it becomes part of them. 
  • Imbibe life skills like discipline, time management, and independence into students. It takes a lot of self-discipline to commit yourself to do a nighty home task. As this continues, students can manage their time well to include other activities.