Irish school replaces homework with “acts of kindness” instead

While homework was once seen as an integral part of education, more recent research shows that it can have multiple negative effects on students’ minds and bodies.

For example, a study by Stanford University showed that 56% of students considered homework a primary source of stress. The pressure to finish homework and participate in extracurricular activities resulted in a lack of sleep, headaches, exhaustion and weight loss in some kids.

Wikimedia Commons Source: Wikimedia Commons

Now, some schools are finding innovative ways to keep students’ gears turning in the off-hours without piling on extra busywork. And an elementary school in Ireland has found a great way to replace homework altogether each December.

During the holidays, students at Gaelscoil Mhíchíl Uí Choileáin in Clonakilty get a “kindness diary” to record their work and accompanying assignments for each day of the week. But these aren’t math problems and readings.

Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin/Facebook Source: Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin/Facebook

On Mondays, they are expected to reach out to and communicate with an elderly person; Tuesday’s assignment is to make a family member’s life easier by taking over a chore; Wednesdays are for random acts of kindness; on Thursdays, students do something kind for themselves in order to acknowledge and care for their own emotional well-being.

Flickr Source: Flickr

The school also has a “Kindness Bucket” (or “Buicéad Cineáltais”) where students can write down kind words about their classmates. On Fridays, a random selection of the notes are read aloud for all of the students to hear.

In a Facebook post describing the innovative endeavor, the school wrote:

“In this world, consumed by social media, where our young people are constantly experiencing pressure, there is no better way to show them the way forward in the world than by practicing kindness. We all know that helping others makes us feel good about ourselves…. What’s not to love about that?!? That feel good factor we experience form helping others cannot be quantified. Our message to the children is very simple: they can be the reason somebody smiles today and they can definitely help make this world a better place for others and for themselves.”

Flickr Source: Flickr

Finally, December also involves a “Gníomh Cineáltais Ranga” (Class Kindness Act) in which classes propose their own unique ways to make the Christmas season better for the whole community.

This is the third year in which the school has replaced homework in December.

Vice Principal Íde Ní Mhuirí said in the post:

“We are encouraging our pupils to think of the real spirit of Christmas, the spirit of kindness and giving.
With such an emphasis on the materialistic and commercial aspect of Christmas, we often tend to overlook what it’s really all about…. Good will!”

Pxhere Source: Pxhere

The school also gave kudos to parents who have been supportive of the unique idea in an attempt to create not just good test-takers but good citizens:

“We are very grateful to the parents in our school who have embraced our mental health, gratitude, fitness and exercise initiatives thus far. It is with their continued support that we can hope to make páistí na scoile kind-hearted, proud, happy and well-rounded citizens and equip them with those life skills that shape their being, long after they have left school.”

Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin/Facebook Source: Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin/Facebook

What do you think about replacing homework with real-world good deeds?

Be sure to scroll down below to see the original Facebook post.

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Source: Upworthy, Oxford Learning, Gaelscoil Mhichíl Uí Choileáin via Facebook