Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Twitter Book Club: John Holt (1964) How Children Fail - Chapter 2

Fear & Failure

"all teachers get in trouble whose ideas of order are different from the schools'" Holtless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"But the ideas of order of all too many schools are that order should, must, can only rest on fear, threat, (cont) http://tl.gd/6qk0ucless than a minute ago via Twittelator

This makes me think of the mantra I always heard when I was a new teacher that, "You shouldn't smile until December and once you establish respect you can lighten up on the rules." I have always had a problem with this. It is based in a confusion between what it means to have respect and what it means for others to fear you. In fact, my refusal to establish a fear-based system of classroom management got me in trouble often in the first two schools I worked at.

"Children who undertake to do things...do not think in terms of success and failure but of effort and (cont) http://tl.gd/6qk6qsless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"when we praise [a child], are we not perhaps honing in on [their] accomplishment, stealing a little of (cont) http://tl.gd/6qkl9gless than a minute ago via Twittelator

Again, another quote that hits me too close to home. I have had deep struggles with this issue both as a parent and as a son. Does the same apply for teachers? It almost seems like we are expected steal some of our students' glory, especially if our own performance evaluations depend on student achievement. Could be a powerful argument for why Value-Added Assessment is harmful to students.

Has anyone else who has read John Holt's "How Children Fail" felt emotional reading his memoirs or been brought to tears?less than a minute ago via Twitterrific

"When we came home and told people of these marvels, they said, 'Well, English kids must be different, you could ne... http://tl.gd/6r59m5less than a minute ago via Twittelator

I hear this argument all the time when doing Technology Integration PD with teachers. ALL THE TIME!

"It is schools rather than classes that we need to make smaller." Holtless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"[IQ] does not test and never could test what Whitehead said was the most important aspect of intelligence, (cont) http://tl.gd/6rl0l7less than a minute ago via Twittelator

"the great difference between the normal child and the retarded child is that the former is punished for (cont) http://tl.gd/6rl4fbless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"Children who depend heavily on adult approval may decide that, if they can't have total success, their (cont) http://tl.gd/6rlbmqless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"When you set out to fail, one thing is certain—you can't be disappointed." Holtless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"A child who can channel his fear of the unknown into a fear of ghosts, witches, ogres, giants, wicked (cont) http://tl.gd/6rllipless than a minute ago via Twittelator

I am not sure I agree with this statement. I think I want my children to understand the difference between fantasy and reality.

"A baby does not react to failure as an adult does, or even a five-year-old, because she has not yet been (cont) http://tl.gd/6rlm8cless than a minute ago via Twittelator

"Worst of all, I'm not sure that we, his elders, really want him to break out [of the circle of failure, (cont) http://tl.gd/6rm1j4less than a minute ago via Twittelator

Isn't this really what high-stakes testing and value added assessment is all about? It makes sense. In uncertain times there is a societal need for a sense of control.

1 comment:

Mrs. Tenkely said...

Failure seems to be something that is taught, we aren't afraid of making mistakes until we are repeatedly told that we are bad or inadequate for making them. How do we change this mindset for kids? Mistakes are creativity and innovation on the road to being realized.

I agree with your assessment about the difference between fear and respect. Too often fear is mistaken for respect.