Letter to the Editor: Less Homework Won’t Help Students Get More Sleep

February 24, 2017

By Antonio Maravilla, 9

The “Lack of Sleep Stunts Student Success” article in the latest edition of the Valor Dictus magazine resonated with me.

However, there are many points that I do not agree with on the article. The first example comes from the survey taken. The options portrayed were extremely unbalanced in that there were one hour intervals (6-7, 7-8, 8-9) compared to a whole five-hour interval (1-6). The final sentence of the same passage states “Another very common distraction was the use of phones, as cited by 34 respondents.” But the survey never states how many people were surveyed, making this an unusable number. The article also did not take into account what percentage of students have sleeping problems such as insomnia, which can alter the results.

Moreover, students need to consider what exactly they would do if they were given a smaller amount of homework. A Huffington Post study showed that 87 percent of students in high school procrastinate at some point. Given that huge number, would you really think that if students were given a smaller amount of work to do and longer periods of time to do it, that they would get it done? All while being able to sleep? Don’t forget that in this period of time, many students are attracted to sports, electronics, and of course, video games.

As a prime witness to having little to no homework, I would definitely like to give my two cents. I procrastinate. A lot. That’s because I know I don’t have much to do, so I put it off for later when I feel like doing it, which is never. Thus, I do other things like play video games, eat food, and play sports. Now, I’ve wasted a ton of time and have a lot of homework to do. Imagine having 5,000 other students like this. Only a small amount would actually be doing the homework and be able to get the sleep needed.

Using the term “IB Diploma Candidate” is also a very broad generalization. What about the IB courses make one able to work under less sleep? This point was never discussed or elaborated on, it was only bragged about and rubbed in the face of non-IB diploma candidates. If you cared so much about being able to work well under less sleeping hours, you would tell us what exactly you’re doing to stay awake and mind-able to work efficiently.

Another thing that can’t be fixed is the consistency in homework times, as a writer of the article stated. Under the No Child Left Behind Act, slower students are helped at the expense of faster students. Coming to terms with what we’re learning, it means that teachers normally have to make a specific homework plan uniquely for each class, while also keeping up to the standards that they need to teach it. Because of this, consistency cannot be guaranteed.

I also agree with the student who claimed there is no solution to the sleeplessness problem. We will continue having these problems, regardless of what homework we are assigned, what sports we do, and what games we play. We are always going to have students who don’t get the “required” amount of sleep. There is absolutely nothing we can do to fix that, regardless of what we do.

The real goal in this is not to gain sleeping hours, but to push the reason why we aren’t getting those hours off of school. The students don’t want school to be the reason they are always tired, and if you think about this it’s because they want to be sleepless on their own terms, that they did what they want (and enjoyed) instead of “stupid, useless” homework.

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