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Will Too Much Homework Stifle Kids’ Creativity?

Journalist Karl Taro Greenfeld wrote a personal essay called “My Daughter’s Homework Is Killing Me” for The Atlantic this month, suffering through homework assignments alongside his daughter for a week.

He discovered that we may be burying our kids’ creativity under mounds of homework. Here’s an excerpt:

In each conference, I urge the teachers to give less homework. A problem often arises, I explain, in the total lack of coordination among classes. A Humanities assignment requiring the kids to render in words, pictures, or both a scene from Angela’s Ashes, say, can take an hour or two, yet most teachers don’t seem to consider anything creative to be homework. The creative stuff, like drawing or writing a short story or preparing a scene from a play, is all extra, to be completed in addition to the hours of humanities, math, science, and Spanish.

Last year, Greenfeld talked about his Triburbia novel on the Morning Media Menu, sharing advice for journalists and writers coping with a dramatically evolving landscape.

Follow this link to read a Byliner excerpt from his book, a section about a journalist caught fabricating chunks of his memoir.

Press play to listen, but we’ve included quotes from the interview below. He began:

Even though we seem to be able to unmask journalistic frauds with greater and greater regularity, is that really improving journalism at all? That’s a funny thing that’s happening. Journalism is self-policing itself probably better than ever, but meanwhile, journalism isn’t getting any better for all of that.

Greenfeld explained more about plagiarism:

One thing I’ve learned in the Internet age is you cannot get away with this stuff. You can’t get away with making up books. When I started out, pre-Internet, the rules were a little looser. I’m interested whenever somebody gets in trouble for this.

He concluded:

I really like those kind stories of people getting caught for fraud. We seem to have more and more of them, but that’s because of the Internet, right? All this stuff is happening because the Internet allows you to search and check everything. It’s unlikely that 20 years ago Jonah Lehrer would have even happened. It wouldn’t have been so easy to figure out that he’d written the same story in The Wall Street Journal a few years ago.

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