Monday, March 22, 2010

The Schools our Children Deserve

Kohn, A., (1999), The Schools our Children deserve; Moving beyond traditional classroom and “tougher standards”, Chapters 1 and 2, Houton Mifflin, Boston

Alfie Kohn uses research and his own point of view to show what traditional schools are doing wrong despite a push for more rigorous standards and measuring student’s progress by test scores and grades. He states that there are five fatal flaws in this focus and will actually cause students to become less successful specifically when it comes to their abilities to reason, analyze and problem solve. The nations “preoccupation with achievement” leads to “old Style teaching” where students are talked at , disengaged and unmotivated. He states that less learning takes place because students are pushed to focus on the grade vs. “what” they have learned. He also discusses how by being “wedded to standardized testing” schools end up dictating what is taught when leading to an environment that needs to follow strict guidelines and does not allow for student exploration. The overemphasis of achievement as measures through standardized testing, leads to unmotivated and disengaged students. He argues that in order to motivate, students must be asked what they are doing not how they did on the test.

Kohn is extremely passionate about his topics. His arguments are extremely logically and well supported through research. This book is entertaining as well as informative because of his writing style. Other orticles and resources by Alfie Kohn can be found at His website provides direct links to articles, books, dvds and free online resources. A variety of topics are covered as well.

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