Ever since homework was created, students across the world have groaned and complained about completing it. Whether it is writing a pointless book report or calculating what "x" is equal to, homework never fails to be dull and, more than often, worthless. Yet, teachers still continue to give hours of stressful busy work out to students semester after semester. It has just always been a part of school; but, does it have to be? Homework may be engraved into the curriculums of every teacher out there, but what is it really for; and can we transform it into something that can be beneficial for everyone's learning?
I am an English teacher, and I bet homework IS important. It often happens that I explain a grammar and everyone seems to have understood it. We do a few follow-up examples and they do well. However, in the final exam I see awful and unexpected errors in their papers. Errors that they did not make even once in the class. I guess that unless they do an exercise on their own (eg. a piece of homework), they do not really get involved in the subject, and we cannot be sure if they've really learned it.
Homework is also sometimes the teaching itself, not supplementary, or secondary to it. For example, how is one going to teach a class writing if they are not asked to write something? :)
However, I do agree that the term "homework" has developed notorious connotations for students. But we can improve things a bit. For example, by publishing the students' works in a newsletter, or introducing them to competitive and cooperative group activities. I have benefited from these strategies a lot in my classes. You must try them as a teacher and see the passion and enthusiasm in your students' face when they see their essays typed and printed! Mundane as it is to us, it is a big big present for them! :))