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What Does It Mean to Be Well-Educated?: And Other Essays on Standards, Grading, and Other Folliesby Alfie Kohn
Synopses & Reviews
Few writers ask us to question our fundamental assumptions about education as provocatively as Alfie Kohn. Time magazine has called him “perhaps the country’s most outspoken critic of education’s fixation on grades [and] test scores.” And the Washington Post says he is “the most energetic and charismatic figure standing in the way of a major federal effort to make standardized curriculums and tests a fact of life in every U.S. school.”
In this new collection of essays, Kohn takes on some of the most important and controversial topics in education of the last few years. His central focus is on the real goals of education—a topic, he argues, that we systematically ignore while lavishing attention on misguided models of learning and counterproductive techniques of motivation.
The shift to talking about goals yields radical conclusions and wonderfully pungent essays that only Alfie Kohn could have written. From the title essay’s challenge to conventional, conservative definitions of a good education to essays on standards and testing and grades that tally the severe educational costs of overemphasizing a narrow conception of achievement, Kohn boldly builds on his earlier work and writes for a wide audience.
Kohn’s new book will be greeted with enthusiasm by his many readers and by any teacher or parent looking for a refreshing perspective on today’s debates about schools.
A collection of essays argues that traditional educational practices in America thwart the development of more meaningful objectives to provide students with high-quality instruction.
Alfie Kohn's previous eight books include Punished by Rewards, No Contest, and The Schools Our Children Deserve. He speaks widely to teachers and parents and lives in Belmont, Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
To what end schooling? What does it mean to be well-educated? The goals of business vs. the goals of schooling. The costs of overemphasizing achievement — Testing and standards. Standardized testing and its victims. Emphasis on testing leads to sacrifices in other areas. Beware of the standards, not just the tests. Two cheers for an end to the SAT — Grading. From degrading to de-grading. The dangerous myth of grade inflation — Moral and social questions. Five reasons to stop saying 'good job!' Almost there, but not quite. Constant frustration & occasional violence. Teaching about September 11 — School reform and the study of education. Education's rotten apples. The folly of merit pay : how should we reward teachers? we shouldn't. A look at Maslow's "basic propositions." Professors who profess.
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