When teachers assign busy work, it often creates a lot of added stress for students, and many wonder why they have to do work that doesn’t necessarily add to the curriculum. However, busy work also comes with many hidden benefits. By doing extra work, students learn valuable time management skills and are able to gain a deeper understanding of the material by reinforcing it.
A majority of the assignments that teachers give students aren’t to learn new material independently, but rather they are a repetition of the work that was done in class. This work is often categorized as busy work because many students find it redundant to do the same thing again. Yet, by requiring students to submit this work for a grade, the busy work forces them to study the material covered in class and gain a deeper understanding of it. The best way to learn new material is through repetition, and busy work provides that. Ingrid Vorbrich ‘22 reinforces this idea by saying that “everyday practice is super helpful when you are learning things and busy work allows an opportunity to provide some everyday practice that doesn’t just include going over your notes.”
Another thing that busy work provides students with is the skill of time management because, with the added load of work, students have to figure out how to properly manage everything and get things done efficiently. Often, it is easier to do busy work first to check off easier assignments from a to-do list, in order to gain a focused momentum, before tackling the harder assignments. Vorbrich says, “I think when it is a small quantity of busy work it actually provides a sense of productiveness.” This productiveness can then motivate students to get more done.
Busy work is helpful, but it has to be assigned in moderation. Vorbrich states that “Some teachers take busy work and assign 40 minutes to an hour of work and I think that is when kids get really frustrated with it when they feel like they aren’t gaining anything.” Busy work can be beneficial when it is actually providing other skills to students besides just added stress, but an overload of busy work can actually be counterproductive because it will take away from the time that students need to complete other assignments.