Archived Guestbook

To read comments by other visitors, simply scroll down.

To read earlier postings, click here for access to archived messages (March 1999 October 2005).
Back to ListShowing 251 - 275 Of 725    Next


Posted On 06-09-2010 8:00 PM
Your Name: Sindi Sabourin
Email Address: sindi.sabourin@gmail.com
Location: Toronto
How did you find our site?: friend
Comment: Hi all you Alfie Kohn fans,

If any of you are in Toronto, check out my new meetup group:

http://www.meetup.com/Cooperative-Games-and-Sports-Toronto/

Part of the purpose is to get kids playing cooperative games more instead of competitive games, this not only promotes empathy, but I think will encourage more long-term participation. Ever wonder why so many adults say they hate sports? Probably because they weren't very good at it and so always got left out - when the goal is to beat an opponent, the less skilled players are not encouraged to play or when they do play are often not passed to. This only serves to increase the achievement gap. Cooperative games and sports encourage equal participation. This reduces the achievement gap and increases overall excellence.

Another purpose is to get adults to realize that cooperative games and sports can require just as much skill as competitive games and are a lot more fun for everyone because they encourage equal participation and remove the hostility and tension that competition creates.


Posted On 06-06-2010 5:43 AM
Your Name: Stu Bloom
Email Address: sbloom2@gmail.com
Organization: East Allen County Schools
Location: Indiana
How did you find our site?: Been here many times...
Comment: I've read your books...watched some of your videos...and I'm more and more convinced that you're correct in what you say about standards and tests.

Tomorrow I'll go to school for the last day of the year...and I'm retiring at the end of this school year after 34 years in public education. However, I'm going to continue to work as much as I can to get rid of the insane reliance on standards and tests.

We need to let kids learn...not force feed them. Thanks for your leadership and your voice. One of these days we'll get rid of the Margaret Spellings and Arne Duncans and turn education over to educators!

Posted On 06-01-2010 6:33 PM
Your Name: brad Blanton
Email Address: brad.blanton@me.com
Organization: Center for Radical Honesty
Location: Virginia, U.S.
How did you find our site?: friend
Comment: Very happy to discover your work after being bugged by my friend Keith Moon who likes what you say and write and what I say and write. My books on Radical Honesty talk about moralism as a disease which essentially teaches lying that is the source of alienation from each other and contact with reality. More power to you my friend. I am glad you are out there raising hell about our cultural insanity.

Posted On 05-30-2010 12:32 PM
Your Name: John Caldwell
Email Address: jcaldwell@lbpearson.qc.ca
Organization: Beaconsfield High School
Location: Beaconsfield, Quebec, Canada
How did you find our site?: google
Comment: I heard Alfie at my teachers' convention in November, 2009 in Montreal.  I have read four of his books since and watched two of his videos.  I have tried to put some of his ideas into action in my high school math classes.  I have done away with 90% of my homework and have tried to work out, together with the students, what we should learn and how we should learn it.  My only regret is that I am near the end of my teaching career.  I wish it was 33 years ago and I knew this great stuff.  Thank-you, Alfie, for making the last few years of teaching the best!

Posted On 05-21-2010 2:34 PM
Your Name: Rebecca King
Email Address: red1hrt@yahoo.com
Organization: University of Phoenix Graduate Program
Location: Alabama
How did you find our site?: Goggled Mr. Kohn's name
Comment: I just wanted to say how refreshing it was to read an interview you did with Ron Brandt.  I am currently working on my master's in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix.  I am a home school teacher and single Mom.  I just started home schooling my son this past year because of all the "things" going on in public and private schools.  After reading your interview, I've been looking up other works that you have done.  When you decide to run for president, you've got my vote!

 


Posted On 05-19-2010 1:46 PM
Your Name: April Cochran
Email Address: cochran.ad.1@gmail.com
Organization: Ashford University
Location: Colorado
How did you find our site?: google
Comment: I had read a brief education profile about Alfie Kohn in 2008 while attending college in Missouri.  This past week I read your article Five Reasons to Stop Saying "Good Job!" in my college textbook.  I really enjoyed the article - it was very thought provoking about how important it is to watch what you say to your students.  I am completing my degree in two weeks and I am looking forward to reading more articles listed on your website during my summer break.  I start school again in the fall to complete my state licensing and I am sure the information will be helpful as I continue to study education.  

Posted On 05-14-2010 5:04 PM
Your Name: Lora Hogan
Email Address: lora.hogan@cox.net
Organization: Mesa Unified School Dist #4 (AZ)
Location: Red Mtn Ranch Elementary
How did you find our site?: long time fan
Comment: Punished by Rewards has been foundational to my teaching career since 1994. Since reading it, several of your books have been added to my personal library.

Admittedly, following your advice has not always been easy-but you never promised it would. However through the years, when I have struggled with classroom management there has been guided by an enduring question-"Are you asking children to behave as anything other than children?" And when the going has been tough I've been sustained by your refrain- "When you are old and the children are in charge, for what kind of world do you hope?" For almost 20 years I've found these principles to become a mantra, a refuge, and the reason to strive always for the higher, more noble aims. You've surely heard many similar comments through the years. I am a better teacher because of your writing.

Still, it's so hard to be in a minority among peers who place endless value on competition. For example, in one southwestern US elementary school today, there was held an awards assembly. There was no illusion in my mind that the goal was to discern, as early as age 7 or 8 precisely which children were winners and set them above the losers. And it was clearly for the benefit of the parents in attendance.

This pecking and sorting of potential led to some very interesting results. As the assembly wore on (and on) the behavior of the young audience steadily declined. I couldn't help but wonder if this was a natural conclusion-if perhaps even these young children were rebelling against the insanity. The kids intuitively and collectively rejecting being rejected, each one in turn declaring, "don't count me out".

But maybe it was my own wish for them. Or perhaps a hope that my own, two children (now teens-articulate, non-competitive, and fiercely independent) will somehow envision their humanity beyond grades and gold stars, and continue to grow, each one destined for a life as a  thoughtful, compassionate, self-determined, involved citizen of our world .
Thank you for your continuing efforts and for inspiring me personally to continue in pursuit to educating for a kinder humanity.

Posted On 05-13-2010 2:03 PM
Your Name: James Cruice
Email Address: sced28@hotmail.com
Organization: Santa Cruz Elementary District 28
Location: Nogales, Arizona
How did you find our site?: The Homework Myth
Comment: What does Alfie think about the new administrations focus on test scores and rigor when his talks have been attributing it to the right wing groups?  The Race To The Top program is the exact model that he decries.  Thanks for all you do, but we have lost.

Posted On 05-10-2010 6:36 PM
Your Name: Julie Anderson
Email Address: Julie_Anderson@catawbaschools.net
Organization: Catawba County Schools
Location: Newton, NC
How did you find our site?: google standardized testing
Comment: We have got to reduce the amount of standardized testing!!

Posted On 05-06-2010 11:20 AM
Your Name: Laura Shaz
Email Address: ljspeace@gmail.com
Organization: Nechalim High School
Location: Israel
How did you find our site?: research from the Israeli Democratic school site
Comment: Thank you so much for your information about teaching and for you concentration on cooperation, rather than competition.  I've been reading your website now for hours.

I am a first year English high school teacher in Israel.  (I am originally from Maryland.)  Israeli kids are tough, don't listen and want to take advantage of the sweet American English teacher.  Israeli teachers told me to be stricter, but this is not my style.  I want to have fun and to have them enjoy learning. 

This first year hasn't been smooth, but I know that going with the fun and pleasant approach will pay off in the end.  I have years of teaching ahead of me:)... Thanks for your help, Your insight is SUCH encouragement:)

Posted On 04-28-2010 5:08 AM
Your Name: Harvey Waxman
Email Address: hnwaxman@gmail.com
Organization: R.I.G.H.T
Location: http://righttax.org
Comment: Some believe that if we increase taxes on the wealthy they will cease to try and revenues will decline. This assumes that the wealthy, the successful, will change into low achievers and stop trying if they earn less. That's as misguided as the assumption that bestowing benefits on the poor will change them into entrepreneurs and high achievers. If only it were that simple. Punished by Rewards offers a new perspective.

Posted On 04-19-2010 4:43 PM
Your Name: Gina Grothoff
Email Address: ginagmom23@gmail.com
Organization: Charlottehomeschooling.com
Location: Charlotte, NC
How did you find our site?: have read books
Comment: I came back to this site after watching an ABC news story on radical unschooling.  As an unschooler, I was irritated by the ignorant comments people left on the website about unschooling. Then I thought of Alfie Kohn, and thought, it would be great to share a link from his site.
I have read Unconditional Parenting and recently checked it out of the library again for my husband to read.  I am in full agreement with everything you say in that book and am working to improve my parenting strategy with my 3 children.
Thank you for all you have written!

Posted On 04-19-2010 11:22 AM
Your Name: Susan Bernard
Email Address: sbernard@asu.edu
Organization: Arizona State University
Location: Tempe, AZ
How did you find our site?: A teacher article in class
Comment: When I was young, I read the book “The Prophet” by Khalil Gibran and remember what he said about children:

 They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts.

For me this is analogous to the notion of “working with” versus “doing to.” For me, my Alfie Kohn moment was when I read the article (in college),  "Five Reasons to Stop Saying 'Good Job!'"  I was so challenged by this article- being a person who always considered positive reinforcement positive. But the article disturbed me and I sensed that this topic required more thought on my part- really good articles on really good thoughts always do provoke more thought.

I am now getting my Master's in Elementary Ed (almost done) and guess what my thesis topic is? Motivation. This has been such a rewarding topic and Alfie Kohn's books, videos and articles have been a source of wisdom throughout.  When I read AK's words, it's like he deeply understands how I feel about the important things in life- children being one of the most important. For example, he writes: "The crucial question is what kind of people we want our children to be- and that includes whether we want them to be the kind who accept things as they are or the kind who try to make things better." It’s trite and over-used, but … I couldn’t agree more!

When AK talks in lectures and writes in books about all the words people use to describe their goals for their children and what they want them to grow up to be, no one ever says, "quiet, well-behaved and no trouble."  I could go on and on, but I won't. Suffice to say that everyone should read his book on Unconditional Parenting- everyone- even people who aren't parents! Thank you Alfie Kohn for being a voice of reason and wisdom in a world of thoughtlessness and expedience.


Posted On 04-18-2010 1:36 PM
Your Name: Molly Smith
Email Address: molly.fick@gmail.com
Location: Boulder, Colorado
How did you find our site?: Google
Comment: Thank you very much for coming to speak to us in Boulder, Colorado yesterday.  I was in the front row, constantly nodding my head in agreement.  It was such a refreshing relief to hear such common sense expressed so simply.  I was amazed how quickly the two hours flew by.  I was inspired by your talk to work for positive changes in my daughter's elementary school.  The letter that you read to us from the mother to her son's teacher was impressive.  If it is possible, I would appreciate having the main portion of that letter to use as a guide for me to write a similar letter to my daughter's teacher next school year when she is in first grade.

Posted On 04-17-2010 6:35 AM
Your Name: Condie Ward
Email Address: condieward@gmail.com
Organization: Westport Weston Cooperative Nursery School
Location: Westport, CT
How did you find our site?: Lecture
Comment: I attended the presentation you gave at the Quick Center in Fairfield, CT on March 31, 2010. The topic was "Working With Children vs. Doing To Them." I have been a preschool teacher for 20+ years and have always believed in teaching the way you describe working with children. Out of the 20 staff at my current school, only about 5 of us were able to attend your presentation. Since then, my Director and I have talked about your wonderful presentation, and she has suggested that perhaps I could provide a workshop about honoring children in the teaching we do at our school. This could be a dicey subject, if not done right. Educators who don't think alike may feel threatened - not a reason to not offer such a workshop, but as a peer, I don't want to alientate my co-workers. I'm thinking maybe using your lecture to frame the workshop may be a good way to come at this important topic. Thank you for being such an inspiration - you make me want to work at thinking of ways to better get the message across to both my peers and the parents I work with. Your presentation was delightful and clear. I love how passionate you are!

Posted On 04-15-2010 10:15 PM
Your Name: Andrea Savage
Email Address: a.savage1@yahoo.com
Organization: Occidental College
Location: Los Angeles
How did you find our site?: Presentation by Alfie Kohn
Comment: I have recently designed my own "education" major and stumbled upon this lecture at my own school. It's like all of my hypotheses were just proved true, 4 years of work, discusses in two hours. Where do I sign up to be this kind of teacher?

Posted On 04-11-2010 11:50 PM
Your Name: Ed Gerlits
Email Address: egerlits@live.com
Location: South Bay
How did you find our site?: Assignment
Comment: Ironically i came across this site upon looking for a subject to write a homework research paper on.  A teacher actually recommended it to me. So now for my homework assignment i am writing a research paper on the negative affects of homework.

Posted On 04-10-2010 3:26 PM
Your Name: Philip Weaver
Email Address: philip.weaver@gmail.com
Location: Portland, OR
How did you find our site?: Google
Comment: I ran across this article: http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/04/10/2049216/Should-Kids-Be-Bribed-To-Do-Well-In-School Apparently this economist Roland Fryer Jr. did a study in which he paid students to do well in school, and found that "performance" went way up. Of course, your books have taught me that this will only result in these children being less motivated and less successful as adults. Had you heard about this study before, or similar research? How would you respond to people who support something like this? How could I convince someone that this is a bad idea?

Posted On 04-05-2010 9:44 AM
Your Name: Amy Walker
Email Address: awalker@maconresources.org
Organization: Macon Resources, Inc.
Location: Decatur, IL
How did you find our site?: Google
Comment:

 I also thank God that you are one of the few educational voices out there who stands firm against standardized tests, traditional grades, and all the practices of school that make the teachers sick and the students even sicker. I've been a "lurker", a follower of yours since 2006, and I am in your debt. You have opened my eyes and given words to all of the "icky feelings" I've ever had about school. You explain what's going ON in terms that I can actually understand. You promote compassion, empathy and progressivism in a world that increasingly champions competition, "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps-ism" and authoritarianism. You help me keep my sanity intact.

I encourage you, and anyone else reading this website, to check out http://www.refresheverything.com/refreshouroutlook. My company, supervisor and I are looking to implement a K-12 anti-bullying program that SPECIFICALLY includes students with disabilities (who often don't get the "regular" anti-bullying training their classmates get because they're stuck in "special ed"). Alfie, I suggest that one of your next articles should be about bullying. You can talk about what effect grades, competition, testing, and the traditional "school mindset" have on it. Bless you! :)


Posted On 04-01-2010 3:56 PM
Your Name: Leslie Alexander
Email Address: les626@hotmail.com
Organization: retired
Location: Oxford, Ct
How did you find our site?: Fairfield Univ. Lecture
Comment: I appreciated your lecture last night; not just the message but the energy and compassion.  I wanted to ask about how frustrating it must be to see the direction of the country towards merit pay, and your rational ideas about why it wouldn't work.  NYC just completed a study that looked at paying families so kids would be more successful in school.  Guess what they found?

Thanks so much for the work that you do.  I would love to join your band wagon.

Posted On 03-31-2010 6:44 PM
Your Name: Barbara Callahan
Email Address: Barbara3435@yahoo.com
Organization: psychoanalyst/Montessori Educator
Location: Fairfield, CT
How did you find our site?: Fairfield Univ lecture 3/21
Comment: Thank you so much for your great talk tonight.  I feel like your elder twin - you are preaching to the choir.  I bet your kids went to a Montessori School!  Keep up the great work.  I have a private practice and often coach parents.  I speak at parent groups at Montessori school and do teacher development.

Posted On 03-26-2010 11:13 AM
Your Name: Dr.Robert Rose
Email Address: icdrrose@gmail.com
Organization: www.imaginativecurriculum.com
Location: San Bernardino, CA
How did you find our site?: teachers.net
Comment: Most of my teaching life I used comments rather than grades. I even refused to use the district's report card and had my own Pupil Progress Profile that stated what they had been exposed to and some of the various levels of things they had attempted. An example is child in fifth grade who ranged from 4th to 8th grade levels depending on the materials he attempted. At first students and parents were upset and confused, but as they saw how much they improved in everything they were ecstatic. I call my system the Self-Sustaining Classroom.

Posted On 03-20-2010 1:56 PM
Your Name: Joe Goldman
Email Address: goldmaj@students.wwu.edu
Organization: Western Washinton University Undergraduate
Location: Bellingham, WA
How did you find our site?: Can't remember
Comment:

I really love all your work, but there is one thing that kind of contradicts your work that you don't address very often. Maybe because it seems so obvious on the surface or because it really is the least of our problems. You made a blog post about violent video games: "New meta-analysis confirms neg FX – more aggression, less empathy -- of violent video games: http://bit.ly/azxEzS." If students are passionate about exploring virtual worlds, violent and non-violent, then who are adults to come along and tell children that they need to stop doing what they love.

I read the article summary and I am convinced that when people play violent video games they risk becoming more aggressive and less empathetic. What I'm not convinced is that violent video games put people at risk of becoming more aggressive and less empathic just because of the game. I believe research has failed to look at this issue holistically. Many people, such as myself, have played violent video games all through their childhood and have had no such behavioral problems. Perhaps these kind of people are not the majority, but they allow us to see that within a certain context violent video games are not necessarily harmful at all...
Maybe the problem is that we demonize  violent video games so that children feel that they are unwanted for what they are good at. This could cause children to become anti-social, less empathetic, and even aggressive...

I wonder what the results would be if you studied children playing violent video games who are valued outside of violent video games and valued because they are passionate about something...  [edited for length]
 


Posted On 03-19-2010 8:11 PM
Your Name: Ann Davis
Email Address: ann.ed@cox.net
Organization: Kino School
Location: Tucson, Arizona
How did you find our site?: after reading your books
Comment: My daughter, who is now a successful cartoonist, grew up at Kino School, a progressive school that allowed her to pursue her own interests and did not subject her to grades or tests. Her school experiences are definitely echoed in her second graphic novel, The Secret Science Alliance (which was just named the best graphic novel of the year for children by book reviewers on the web!)    In an interview, she said,  I wanted to write a book about smart, motivated kids who build things and invent things and DO things, just like we were encouraged to do at Kino. My experiences at Kino also affected Ben's character. Ben is basically a genius, but because he gets bad grades he has terribly low confidence. This happens to smart kids every day all over the world; because they aren't good at taking tests, they're told, and often believe, that they're dumb. Kino doesn't have tests or grades, and I think it helps students figure out their own strengths and motivations.''

Posted On 03-09-2010 10:08 PM
Your Name: Yvonne Mills
Email Address: eves_garden_childcare@live.com
Organization: Eve's Garden Childcare
Location: Salem, OR
How did you find our site?: bing
Comment: I just want to thank you for putting together all of the wisdom, questions, and similar experiences I've had into your DVD Unconditional Parenting. I am a childcare provider and upon entering children into my care, I have the parents view the DVD.  It answers a lot of their questions about why and how I do what I do with children.  My childcare may be a little noisier than others, perhaps the children are a little more expressive, but we have seen miracles happen in their lives. Thank you so much, Alfie, for clarifying many reasons, issues, and problems that I have tried to put into words for years.

 

*However, it's at least a weekly struggle to hold off parents contributing "rewards" for the children, putting together personalized star charts for me to please use with the kids, and dropping in to "catch them" being good (which usually means quiet). I know I've made progress when a parent considers them as being "caught doing good" when they are angry yet not punching someone but blubbering in frustration, when they are telling us about their day and how they feel, when they beg me, "Please, don't make me eat the peas?"... Thank you so much for articulating your perspective. It works.


 

home | books | articles | A/V | schedule | topics | bio | guestbook | contact us | standards and testing | business

www.alfiekohn.org -- Alfie Kohn