However, homework is not something I ever really engaged in as a student, and yes, I realize this probably biases my opinion on the subject.
There are teachers (and administrators, and other powerful educator-types) that claim homework teaches responsibility.
Learning responsibility comes from the teacher (or authority figure) gradually releasing control of the learning tasks when the students/apprentices are engaged in a task they they intrinsically find to be worthwhile. It does not come from me telling a bunch of sixteen-year-olds what they should add to their overstuffed lives when they’re not sitting/standing/playing in my classroom.
So really, the discussion of homework/no homework steers into a conversation about value in class. What do you value as a teacher? What do students value, beyond prom dresses and bandanna-print vests? It is reductionist to say that teenagers don’t care about schoolwork at all, which is an argument I hear often. Teenagers don’t care about THAT schoolwork, because it’s little more than checking off a series of boxes to them.
Any kind of work, inside or outside of class, has to be connected to a larger learning goal that the students understand. And in my class, it often takes them a LONG time to get the connections, because the class is very non-traditional-- but the moments when they get it-- those are awesome.
For example, today, I had a colleague come talk to my AP class about presentation skills, so the kids could hear a different voice and a little different perspective. He told them that slideshows shouldn’t have tons of words on them, and that they should hand out a short document after the presentation that gives notes/helps solidify the information. (I make them do this, and they mutter things at me.)
As he said this, I saw several students look at me, the light registering on their faces… like, Oh. THAT’S why we do that.