Homework is a core pedagogical tool used by schools around the world. Yet concern for heavy homework load has been raised regarding stress on students and families and how it may overshadow opportunities for non-academic development. Drawing support from Self-Determination Theory and Hope Theory, an innovative intervention project was designed to create homework-free opportunities for school children to take part in freely chosen self-directed leisure activities. The project was implemented in four primary schools in Hong Kong during the Easter holiday in 2017 and 2018. A mixed-method evaluation was conducted to appraise the experiences of student participants as well as the project’s impact on holiday satisfaction, homework attitudes and self-directed outcomes. This study’s sample was comprised of 1,425 students enrolled in Primary levels 1 to 6. Participants reported in interviews that engagement in self-chosen, self-directed leisure activities were exciting and appealing. Pre- and post-holiday survey results with control-group comparisons confirmed that students who undertook self-directed leisure activities over a homework-free holiday gained enhanced agency thinking and academic competence while also becoming less inclined to see homework as meeting their immediate learning needs. Implications are also discussed regarding the benefits of self-directed leisure activities as well as school-based homework policies regarding assignment load.
academic competence, agency thinking, pathways thinking, self-determination theory, hope theory
Vicky C. Tam: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1729-8125
Phoebe Chu: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0716-517X
Viola Tsang: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6919-0672
Tam, V. C., Chu, P., & Tsang, V. (2023). Engaging in self-directed leisure activities during a homework-free holiday: Impacts on primary school children in Hong Kong. Journal of Global Education and Research, 7(1), 64-80. https://www.doi.org/10.5038/2577-509X.7.1.1193
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License