Joanna Naïla July 23, 2020 Worksheets
Both lower-level-thinking worksheets and too many (even high quality) worksheets can hold students back by not providing stimulus and challenge. Studies have shown for years (just do a Google search!) that children learn best through active involvement and real-life experiences. Virtually every teacher knows that children learn to read by being exposed to books and by being read to, NOT by completing worksheets. The same applies to all areas of learning.
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.
I have said ”Don’t Use Worksheets” about every way there is to say it, and each time I have included solid brain-based, researched reasons for this statement; and yet, I know that many people will ignore the science in favor of the convenience. It is very difficult to fight the tide when there are so many internet sites pushing worksheets at parents, and so many reputable textbook companies doing likewise. It is difficult to remember the reasons to avoid them when one has very little time to devote to working with math. Worksheets just seem so much easier than doing things any other way. Can they really cause harm?
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.
If you are looking for printable worksheets for your preschool child, the array of choices can be a little intimidating. You may just be looking for a few pages to keep your child occupied with something more constructive than yet another half hour in front of the TV, or you may feel it’s time you started helping your child learn the basic skills she or he will need for school.
We have come a long way as teachers since those purple-ink mimeograph machines introduced us to worksheets, so let’s be vigilant! Avoid lower-level-thinking worksheets, do not use too many worksheets (even good ones) and NEVER use worksheets as busy work.Instead, let’s fill our classrooms with meaningful, thoughtful lessons and activities that peak student interest and promote higher-level learning. And that is a message worth copying and handing out!
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