Russian lessons;Letter

16th July 1999 at 01:00
UNLIKE your correspondent, we did not find the apparent failure to establish a link between primary homework and academic performance in England to be particularly "startling".

The key issue, however, concerns not the amount of homework that is set but rather, how it relates to classroom learning. Too often, homework in England takes the form of discrete, bolt-on activities that have little meaningful correspondence with schoolday activities.

In comparison, homework in many successful countries is central to the operation of classwork. In our studies of Russian education, for example, we have noted the heavy demands of junior school lessons in which challenging ideas, principles, skills and concepts are introduced into each lesson. Opportunities to practise and reinforce this learning is largely the preserve of homework that may often take two or three hours to complete each evening.

Children know that their learning will be assessed during their next lesson and that their homework is intended to be an essential preparation for this. Within this set-up, children understand that, if they do not "keep up", they will "fall behind". Strong teacher, peer and parental pressures ensure that this is generally perceived to be highly undesirable.

Professor Julian Elliot Neil Hufton School of Education University of Sunderland

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today