Friday, August 15, 2008


Recently, I have become increasingly aware of the population of schoolwork that we get which is busywork.

Busywork is work assigned which is intended to keep the person, in this case students, busy or it is work which is pointless and teaches nothing. This can also include homework. It is not limited to students and schoolwork but in this case it is.

So basically there are 4 terms at school, each about 10 weeks in length with time off seperating them. One term is generally used to focus on one part of the subject. Let's start off with English.

So close to the start of the term, term 3 it is now, we were given our spelling lists. Well I never thought one of the top grade 10 English classes would need spelling lists. Alright, that's not so bad, spelling lists.

It is when the majority of the words are no harder than "vault" or "balcony". Now that wouldn't be an issue, sure some easy spelling tests every week. But down the bottom of the page it says something like...

Each week students must write 10 different sentences for 10 spelling words on their list.

Now if at some stage at home, I have to stop what I'm doing, and write down 10 randomly generated sentences with words that I use every day I am not learning anything.

You may ask, "What's the big deal, its only 10 sentences once a week. You may aswell just do it." Let's say you are living with your parents, one comes to you while you are busy and says "Hey, go take the trash out to the bin, place it in the bin, get it back out of the bin and bring it back inside." It won't take you very long, go do it.

From taking the trash out and bringing it back in you learn nothing, it gets nothing done and it wastes time.

By writing 10 sentences with words I learnt how to spell at primary(elementary) school I learn nothing, it gets nothing done(well, except for some sentences, but what will that achieve) and it wastes time.

If it was an effective method of teaching they would make us write sentences at school, not at home, we have plenty of time in class.

Now you might say, well have the teacher give you harder words. Well giving me harder words won't help me pass the course because writing out 10 sentences a week, even if each has a new word, probably won't teach me new words very fast. As I just said before, it is not an effective method of teaching and that is so because it takes more than 1 sentence for a word to learn it, especially if attempting 10 words every week.

The best way to learn new words is to find synonyms for common words until you find ones you don't know, or to type in things that could sound like words into an online dictionary until it gives you words that are similiar that you don't yet know.

Of course trying to learn 10 at a time, by writing a sentence for each won't help much.

How about math

Well math isn't so pointless, appart from that more than half of the stuff we do we already completed in grade 8 and 9. We get a lot of work to do, many exercises. But when it gets to the point where you already know it and you don't need to keep writing out the same equation but with different numbers over and over, it does get pointless.

Some people need that bit of extra practice, so I can't really say that it is pointless to most people. But I would like to point out that all of this revision we do of previous years should not take aslong as it does and I really do not do much work in maths because I find it much more efficient to just revise a bit before the exam, rather than repeating exercises over and over for weeks in class.

Atleast our teacher doesn't get too annoyed if we don't do it.

I will conclude this saying that you do not need a lot of the work to get the top grades for the course and that more work does not equal more learning. Working hard at a pointless activity won't mean you do better at school.

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