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Issues in Educational Research, 2020, Vol 30(3), 897-919.
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Primary teachers' homework practices: Identity, expectations, policies and cultural values

Helen Fitzmaurice, Marie Flynn
Dublin City University, Ireland

Joan Hanafin
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Homework is a pervasive pedagogical practice worldwide, and somewhat neglected as a research topic. This study aims to provide a comprehensive account of teachers' homework practices, an aspect of teachers' work about which relatively little is known. We seek to explore what constitutes teachers' homework practices, illuminate their complexity, and explain what influences them. Findings are drawn from a qualitative study in two middle-class, urban, primary schools in Ireland, using in-depth semi-structured interviews with six teachers and six parents of pupils aged 10-11 years. Our analysis reveals a complex set of practices (designing, implementing, assessing, and providing feedback) that are shaped by professional identity, expectations of parents and colleagues, school homework policies, and cultural values. These practices are characterised by a deliberateness, wherein a careful weighing up of elements is evident, indicative of the importance of professional identity; and by an alignment both with the expectations of parents and the requirements of school policies. We denominate homework as home-school-work because, although commonly perceived as the responsibility of pupils and parents, homework practices actually occur at the nexus of home and school. Teachers' homework practices are central to teaching and learning and, consequently, merit further study with more diverse samples.
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Authors: Helen Fitzmaurice is a primary teacher and assistant principal. She is also a PhD candidate at Dublin City University's Institute of Education. Helen is currently undertaking her PhD research on homework, thus extending her previous research. She has co-authored a number of research papers, also on the topic of homework.
Email: helen.fitzmaurice2@mail.dcu.ie
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7764-3392

Dr Marie Flynn is a lecturer in sociology at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University. Her research interests and publications are mainly in families and schooling, intelligences and inequalities in schooling, children's privacy, and Traveller education.
Email: marie.flynn@dcu.ie
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6998-9289

Dr Joan Hanafin is a sociologist, educator, mediator, and founder of www.listeningcourses.com. She is Visiting Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, and former Senior Lecturer at University College Cork. Her current research interests focus on inclusion and equality, families and schools, and young people and tobacco control.
Email: j.hanafin@ucc.ie
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8016-2266

Please cite as: Fitzmaurice, H., Flynn, M. & Hanafin, J. (2020). Primary teachers' homework practices: Identity, expectations, policies and cultural values. Issues in Educational Research, 30(3), 897-919. http://www.iier.org.au/iier30/fitzmaurice.pdf

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Created 24 Sep 2020. Last correction: 24 Sep 2020.
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