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Homework, the Cause of Teenage Stress?

By Aryanna Zavala, Clarion Staff

Stress, the word that so many teenagers use to describe what they are feeling. Teenagers today have so many things to worry about, from sports to homework. Students are assigned more homework than they should be or more than they can handle. High school students should be receiving about an hour of homework according to research by the National Education Association. Students attend school for eight hours a day for five days a week, then go home and tackle even more work for another couple of hours.  Too much homework is unhealthy for a student’s health and it affects their social life which provides an important balance between school and their social life.

During holiday breaks, students typically are assigned essays and/or projects. All students would complain and say that it is called a break for a reason. Why do we get assigned so much homework? I understand teachers assigning work so students do not forget the material, but some teachers overdo it. Teachers justify themselves by saying that homework is assigned to further understand the lesson, but it overworks our brains and it does not help. The number of assignments begin to build up as a result of teenage procrastination which in turn leads them to fall behind in their classes which may lead to falling behind in classes, which causes them more stress. A student expressed her feelings towards homework, “Homework does cause me stress. With the amount of homework I get, I have to pick and choose what classes are more important and which ones I can suffer a bit in.”

KENNEDY SURVEY

In a Kennedy survey in late 2016 nearly 500 students were asked questions about homework, 46% of students indicated they had more than 2 hours worth of homework every night.  A large majority (74%) procrastinate about completing homework, and a majority (70%) reported higher amounts of stress caused by excessive homework.   The surprising results reinforces my theory about students having very high stress levels when it comes to school work.

A survey was distributed and taken during 3rd period classes. About 495 completed surveys were collected and counted to get the following results. The survey asked how much time do you spend on homework per night? Do you procrastinate about completing your homework assignments? How much stress does homework cause?  About 243 students said they only spent about 1 to 2 hours on homework. Only 208 students said 3 to five or more hours on homework. A large majority stated that they do procrastinate on homework instead of actually doing it. 139 students said that their stress level was from a 1 to a 5 on the scale, while 326 students said that their stress level was from a 6 to a 10. The results were surprising, but most of the students have very high stress levels when it comes to schoolwork and that is not healthy for teenagers.

STANFORD STUDY

Studies have shown high school students are overburdened with homework, so much that it’s taking a toll on their health. In 2013, research was conducted at Stanford University. They found that students in high-achieving communities who spend too much time on homework experience more stress, physical health problems, a lack of balance in their lives, and alienation from society. The researchers asked students whether they experienced physical symptoms of stress, such as headaches, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, weight loss, and stomach problems. More than 80 percent of students reported having at least one stress-related symptom recently, and 44 percent said they had experienced three or more symptoms. The researchers also found that spending too much time on homework meant students were not meeting their developmental needs or cultivating other critical life skills. Students were more likely to forgo activities, stop seeing friends or family, and not participate in hobbies. Many students felt forced or obligated to choose homework over developing other talents or skills.

Schools (teachers) believe by assigning us so much homework they are helping us, but in reality it is doing more harm than good. Homework is affecting students health and it is causing some to be anti-social.  A student needs a balance between school and their social life, which is not something many students are able to achieve. Another student is an example of this difficult decision, she stated, “… It can affect my social life because if I am not done [with homework] I’m not able to go out places. Homework does cause teens to become antisocial.”   I believe a change needs to occur if schools want their students to excel in school and remain healthy at the same time.

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