Francine Eugénie July 30, 2020 worksheets
Then along came digital copiers and the purple-ink mimeograph machine disappeared. But the teaching tool that the mimeograph machine spawned – the worksheet – has lived on… and on… and on. For decades – literally decades – teachers have been enamored with worksheets. So what is the bottom line? Are worksheets a serious teaching tool or an over-used form of busy work? The answer, of course, is both.
Pamela Haack is an educational consultant, national presenter and keynote speaker. She is co-founder, along with author/instructor, Mary Peterson, of Teacher Online Classes, an organization that offers e-resources and online seminars and workshops for educators.
As far as using worksheets for busy work, the verdict is in. It is destructive to classroom learning to assign worksheets to simply keep students occupied. Busy work creates monotony, causes boredom and increases the likelihood of behavior problems. Period.
Another thing to look out for is what the pupil will need to solve the worksheets? Does the worksheet require the use of crayons? Does it require other things like a pair of scissors, glue and so on?Before you buy worksheets, make sure to check if they have been created to suit the geographical location that you reside in. The language and usage of words differs from country to country. It is no point buying a worksheet which is designed for children in the US for children residing in India. Also see if the worksheets involve just one way of teaching or multiple ways. Do the worksheets involve short assessments? Does it have some activity built in; does it involve elements from the child’s surroundings?
Students can certainly benefit from practicing new skills and concepts on paper. From letters and numbers to report summary formats, worksheets can provide students with a framework for practice – an avenue for synthesizing new information in their brains. Well designed worksheets can also give students a platform for expressing creative ideas and reaching towards higher levels of thinking.
Some free worksheets are not good quality – the pictures are fuzzy, backgrounds print grey or speckled – and children tend to notice these things. If you are using the worksheets to educate your child, you may want to choose good quality worksheets that encourage your child to produce good quality work. After all, it’s a little difficult to ask your child to color within the lines and work neatly when the worksheet they are filling in hasn’t done the same.
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