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Feel Bad Education: Contrarian Essays on Children and Schoolingby Alfie Kohn
Synopses & Reviews
Mind-opening writing on what kids need from school, from one of education’s most outspoken voices
Almost no writer on schools asks us to question our fundamental assumptions about education and motivation as boldly as Alfie Kohn. The Washington Post says that “teachers and parents who encounter Kohn and his thoughts come away transfixed, ready to change their schools.” And Time magazine has called him “perhaps the country’s most outspoken critic of education’s fixation on grades [and] test scores.”
Here is challenging and entertaining writing on where we should go in American education, in Alfie Kohn’s unmistakable voice. He argues in the title essay with those who think that high standards mean joylessness in the classroom. He reflects thoughtfully on the question “Why Self-Discipline Is Overrated.” And in an essay for the New York Times, which generated enormous response, he warns against the dangers of both punishing and praising children for what they do instead of parenting “unconditionally.”
Whether he’s talking about school policy or the psychology of motivation, Kohn gives us wonderfully provocative—and utterly serious—food for thought. This new book will be greeted with enthusiasm by his many readers, and by teachers and parents seeking a refreshing perspective on today’s debates about kids and schools.
About the Author
Alfie Kohn’s previous eleven books include Punished by Rewards, Unconditional Parenting, and What Does It Mean to Be Well Educated? (Beacon / 3267-1 / $16.00 pb). He speaks widely on education to teachers and parents, and lives in Belmont, Massachusetts.
Table of Contents
Progressive education: why it's hard to beat, but also hard to find — Challenging students and how to have more of them — Getting hit on the head lessons — It's not what we teach; it's what they learn — Who's cheating whom? — How to create nonreaders : reflections on motivation, learning, and sharing power — The trouble with rubrics — The value of negative learning — Unconditional teaching — Safety from the inside out — Bad signs — Feel-bad education : the cult of rigor and the loss of joy — Against "competitiveness" — When twenty-first-century schooling just isn't good enough : a modest proposal — Debunking the case for national standards — Atrocious advice from supernanny — Parental love with strings attached — Why self-discipline is overrated : the (troubling) theory and practice of control from within — Cash incentives won't make us healthier.
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