Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

The Role of School Counselors in Homework Intervention

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

The Role of School Counselors in Homework Intervention

Article excerpt

Counselor involvement in student academic development often has focused on interventions with students whose personal and/or social difficulties interfere with their capacities to perform well academically. At the middle school and high school levels, counselor involvement with course scheduling and testing, both strongly identified with the academic development domain, often constitute a significant portion of counselors' workload (Rowell & LaLonde, 2001). More recently, however, school counselors have been challenged to broaden their perspectives regarding contributions in the academic development domain (Roels, 1998). In the emerging standards-driven environment of U.S. education, enhancing counselor involvement in student academic development would help strengthen the bonds among counselors, teachers, administrators, students, and parents and help demonstrate concretely the centrality of counselor involvement in the total educational enterprise. Classroom guidance and individual or small-group counseling activities focused on assisting students acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for successful completion of schoolwork can be relevant components of school counselors' involvement in student academic development.

The purpose of this article is to explore school counselors' role in homework intervention, an important area in the academic development domain. Homework has been employed widely by classroom teachers for its positive effects on student academic development (e.g., Bursuck, 1995; Keith & Benson, 1992). In this article we review research findings on homework, delineate a model of learner-centered adaptive homework that focuses on learners' homework motivation and learning preferences, and present two counseling approaches to helping students with homework issues. The proposed counseling approaches are based on a homework model--Homework Performance: Motivation and Preference (Hong & Milgram, 2000)--which serves as the foundation for interventions by counselors, teachers, and parents. The article suggests how counselors along with teachers and parents can help students better understand their learning preferences and be more successful in completing homework.

Research on Homework

Many educators believe that homework contributes to the enhancement of school learning and academic achievement (Bursuck, 1995; Cooper, 1994; Cooper, Lindsay, Nye, & Greathouse, 1998; Keith & Benson, 1992). Accordingly, homework is a frequently used teaching strategy in schools. Although there have been movements against the use of homework (Gill & Schlossman, 1996; Jones & Ross, 1964), homework remains an important academic activity in schools.

Both favorable and negative reactions toward homework assignments have been observed from teachers and parents (Bryan & Sullivan-Burstein, 1997). Inappropriate assignment, management, supervision, and feedback can cause problems in family life and more importantly in students' attitudes toward homework and school. Although some students report that they like homework or believe that homework assignments are necessary and help them increase achievement (O'Rourke-Ferrara, 1998), many students think the homework assigned to them is not of value (Bryan & Nelson, 1994). Nevertheless, increased homework time has been reported to be positively related to increased school achievement (Gorges & Elliott, 1995; Keith, 1982; Keith & Page, 1985). However, in a recent study by Cooper et al. (1998), the relationship between the amount of homework assigned and student achievement was found to be weak; however, it was the amount of homework students completed that showed a positive relation with achievement. That is, students who spend large amounts of time on their homework are not necessarily effective in completing homework.

Efforts have been made to improve students' attitudes toward school and homework. …

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