"Bill Hull once said to me, 'If we taught children to speak, they'd never learn.' I thought at first he was joking.... http://tl.gd/8kri3s
"Some committee of experts decided that the activity of reading could be broken down into five hundred separate ski... http://tl.gd/8ks1t4
"Some committee of experts decided that the activity of reading could be broken down into five hundred separate skills. They finally pared this list down to two hundred and eighty-three, which they then proposed to teach, one at a time and in strict order, to all the children in the schools. I hope that this absurd project has by now been abandoned." John HoltUnfortunately no, it has only gotten worse.
"How does he do it?....The answer seems to be by patient and persistent experiment; by trying many thousands of tim... http://tl.gd/8ks1t9
"We assume that since words are the shortest and simplest elements of language, when we learn language we learn wor... http://tl.gd/8ks6r6
"We assume that since words are the shortest and simplest elements of language, when we learn language we learn words first. But it is far more likely that we learn words last. First we learn the large idea of communication by speech, that all those noises that come out of people's mouths mean something and make something happen. Then, from the tones of people's voices and the contexts in which they speak, we get a very general idea of what they are saying, just as I can tell, in a country of whose language I do not speak a word, that a parent is scolding a child or people are joking or arguing or that someone is giving someone else an explanation or an order. Then they begin to intuit a rough outline of the grammar—i.e., the structure—of the language. Finally, they begin to learn words, and to pit those words into their proper slots in the very rough models of grammar which they have invented." John HoltIsn't there some way we can all agree that this is undeniably true? Isn't there some way we can let this line of reasoning dictate how we choose to let our students in school learn?
"any observant child, in a family where people do much talking, soon learns what things are called just by listenin... http://tl.gd/8ks8st
"This kind of checking is not necessary, and it puts a child in a spot where he will feel that, if he says the wron... http://tl.gd/8ksego
Another important notion:
"This kind of checking is not necessary, and it puts a child in a spot where he will feel that, if he says the wrong thing, he has done wrong and is in the wrong. I have seen kindly, well-meaning parents do this to young children, hoping to help them learn. Almost every time the child soon took on the kind of tense, tricky expression we see on so many children's faces in school, and began the same old business of bluffing, guessing, and playing for hints. Even in the rare case when a child does not react this defensively to questions, too much quizzing is likely to make him begin to think that learning does not mean figuring out how things work, but getting and giving answers that please grownups." John Holt
"A child's understanding of the world is uncertain and tentative. If we question him too much or too sharply, we ar... http://tl.gd/8ksl33
"A child's understanding of the world is uncertain and tentative. If we question him too much or too sharply, we are more likely to weaken that understanding than strengthen it. His understanding will grow faster if we can make ourselves have faith in it and leave it alone." John HoltThis is exactly why I think it is a folly for schools to choose to impose more tests in the form of MAPP tests on children. Many schools test kids every quarter, voluntarily. Not to mention the state mandated tests in 3rd, 8th and 10th grades. Arg!
"If talk is not honest, does not have real feeling behind it—like most of the talk children hear on TV—they will no... http://tl.gd/8ksneb
"Anyone who makes it his life work to help other people may come to believe that they cannot get along without him,... http://tl.gd/8kt56a
I think this chapter is exactly why Holt is the champion of so many in the unschooling movement. I wonder what Holt would say of the events in Wisconsin today? He would probably have harsh critical words for those on both sides of the struggle.
"He was talking to a group of Catholic high school superintendents about handling your teachers, and was urging the... http://tl.gd/8lj6dh
"Children may be willing, even glad, to hear stories told about them when they were little, if the point of these s... http://tl.gd/8ljcso
This quote run in my ear tonight, even though I read this a few weeks ago now, when my wife thought she just had to take a picture of my 2 year old who had decided she wanted a snack but also wanted to practice her potty training so proceeded to use her potty chair at the kitchen table as a booster seat. I don't suppose that picture will find it's way out when she introduces us to her prom date or fiance 15-25 years from now. (I'll at least wait until she has children of her own).
"Bill Hull once said to me, 'Who needs the most practice in talking at school? Who gets the most?' Exactly." John Holt
"I still keep hearing of schools that, because it wastes time or makes the lunch room noisy, do not allow children ... http://tl.gd/8ljgmh
"in almost all schools, hardly anything is done to help children become fluent, precise, and skillful in speech." John Holt