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What to Look for in a Classroom. ...and Other Essays

  • ID: 2217854
  • Book
  • 304 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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"Of the dozens of ′experts′ on what′s wrong (and right) in U.S. schools, only a handful are truly worth reading; Kohn has long been one of the soundest." ––Booklist

From self–esteem to school uniforms, from grade inflation to character education, Alfie Kohn raises provocative questions about the status quo in this collection of incisive essays––challenging us to reconsider some of our most basic assumptions about children and education. Whether he is explaining why cooperative learning can be so threatening or why detracking is so fiercely opposed, Kohn offers a fresh, informed, and frequently disconcerting perspective on the major issues in education.

In the end, his critical examination of current practice is complemented by a vision of what schooling ought to be. Kohn argues for giving children more opportunity to participate in their own schooling, for transforming classrooms into caring communities, and for providing the kind of education that taps and nourishes children′s curiosity. Through all these essays Kohn calls us back to our own ideals, showing us how we can be more effective at helping students to become good learners and good people.

"Kohn′s message, if heeded, could inspire a productive revolution in America′s fatigued regime of public education." ––Publisher′s Weekly

"This collection...reminds us that many schools have veered off course in their day–to–day business. And it′s a primer that, if taken seriously, can put schools back on the right track." ––Educational Leadership

"Informative, inspiring, and thought–provoking." ––Library Journal

The Author
Alfie Kohn is the author of seven books on education, including Punished by Rewards and The Schools Our Children Deserve. He lectures widely and works with educators across the country and abroad.

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Introduction ix

Part One: Classroom Mismanagement 1

1 The Limits of Teaching Skills 3

2 The Trouble with School Uniforms 8

3 Beyond Discipline 11

4 How Not to Teach Values: A Critical Look at Character Education 16

Part Two: American Ideology Goes to School 45

5 Resistance to Cooperative Learning: Making Sense of its Deletion and Dilution 47

6 A Lot of Fat Kids Who Don t Like to Read: The Effects of Pizza Hut s Book It! Program and Other Reading Incentives 69

7 Grading: The Issue Is not How But Why 73

8 Grade Inflation and Other Red Herrings 82

9 Only for my Kid: How Privileged Parents Undermine School Reform 85

Part Three: Unquestioned Assumptions About Children 109

10 Suffer the Restless Children: Unsettling Questions About the ADHD Label 111

11 The Truth About Self–Esteem 135

12 Television and Children: ReViewing the Evidence 166

Part Four: Business as Usual 187

13 The Five–Hundred–Pound Gorilla 189

14 The False Premises of School Choice Plans 207

15 Students Don t Work They Learn 210

16 The Littlest Customers: TQM Goes to School 215

Part Five: Lessons Learned 225

17 Caring Kids: The Role of the Schools 227

18 Choices for Children: Why and How to Let Students Decide 249

19 What to Look for in a Classroom 277

Index 281

The Author 289

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Alfie Kohn
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