"Most of us send our kids off to school each weekday morning without giving much thought to the reasons we do so. I... http://tl.gd/7lcngo
I have been considering going to different schools on kindergarten roundup day and interviewing parents about why they have chosen to enroll their child in school. I have a feeling the answers will be diverse but I am a bit hesitant for some of the very reasons Alfie Kohn brings up in this chapter. I don't believe many parents give much thought to the why of schooling. Even those who take care to try and get their child in a special kind of school or those who try desperately to win the charter school lottery probably have not given much thought to why send kids in the first place. Will asking unsuspecting parents this question make them question it for themselves? At first this sounds like it would be a good thing, but it may not be. Would asking this question drive some parents to change their minds about sending their children to school? Would this decision be made in haste and without adequate information to make a good informed choice? Then again, this is the kind of choice they likely are making when they choose to enroll their child in kindergarten. Do I want to be responsible if they choose not to send their child and it turns out to be the wrong choice? Perhaps I am over-thinking this. Anyway, the opportunity has never really been there for me to ask these kinds of questions since as an employee of various schools I am almost always predisposed during the time necessary to make such inquiries.
"As it stands, traditional practices, such as direct instruction, fact-based tests, and a quest for the right answe... http://tl.gd/7lcq47
Lets repeat that one:
"As it stands, traditional practices, such as direct instruction, fact-based tests, and a quest for the right answer are more consistent with the original conception of schools, whose catechisms 'sought to produce believers rather than thinkers.'" Alfie Kohn
So, what are our schools seeking to produce believers in today? Respect and regard for authority? Faith in capitalism? Reverence for our cultural heritage? Seems like everyone ought to be taught to know their place. Perhaps this is why we find statistically that children in poor schools are far more likely to receive this kind of instruction and those in more privileged areas tend to receive a more progressive and authentic education.
"That last distinction raises the question of whether we see schools as places where cultural knowledge is transmi... http://tl.gd/7lcsq5
I really do wonder what E. D. Hirsch Jr. thinks of this book. So much of it seems to be a direct assault on his work. I also wonder what Diane Ravitch thinks of it since on a pedagogy she seems to be soundly in Hirsch's camp but on policy has been agreeing far more with Kohn. Nevermind, I think I just answered both of those questions for myself.
"To take children seriously is to value them for who they are right now rather than seeing them as just adults-in-the-making." Alfie Kohn
This makes me think of scenarios where a family has to decide whether or not to send a terminally ill child to school or not. If you are a teacher who believes that the children in your classroom are just adults-in-the-making, how do you deal with a student in your classroom who you know will die of some awful disease or illness long before they ever graduate from high school?
"Do we send our kids to school for the benefits they will derive personally or for the benefits their education wil... http://tl.gd/7ld0ee
Table showing the spectrum of the purpose of school: http://moby.to/lgtx5l
"My own vision of schooling, which necessarily informs this entire book, is defined by a concern for both the fulfi... http://tl.gd/7ld8pk
"In my experience, when people are asked to reflect on their long-term goals for children, no one thinks in terms o... http://tl.gd/7ldc0r
I can think of one exception: knowledge bowl parents/advocates.
"while you can often make someone else do something—in effect buying a behavior with a bribe or a threat—you can ne... http://tl.gd/7ldot7
I love this quote about motivation. It too is worth repeating:
"while you can often make someone else do something—in effect buying a behavior with a bribe or a threat—you can never make him or her want to do something, which is what 'motivation' means. The best you can do is create the kind of setting and offer the kind of tasks that will tap and nourish people's own motivation." Alfie Kohn
"Anyone who has been around young children knows it's hard to stop them from learning, almost impossible to curb th... http://tl.gd/7ldq9q
"where interest appears, achievement usually follows." Alfie Kohn
"if we are going to hold schools 'accountable,' it should be for something that standardized tests do not and canno... http://tl.gd/7le4qb
Again, another important quote worth repeating:
"if we are going to hold schools 'accountable,' it should be for something that standardized tests do not and cannot measure: the creation of an environment that supports and enhances students' interest in learning." Alfie Kohn