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Posted On 07-19-2014 11:31 AM
Your Name: Donald
Organization: Secondary education
Location: Vancouver BC
How did you find our site?: read your book :)
Comment: This is what I remember. At the end of each elementary school year, the teacher and principal would call a meeting with my parents and myself. Each year they would recommend that I stay back a year. They refused every time and I continued with my tutor and extra support. I managed to at least pass grade 8 with a 56% average. As a adolescent, I was silently fantasizing about a remote controlled monster truck. I didn't think to ask my parents for anything after such a dismal performance in school. To my surprise, they bought it for me anyways. This blew my mind, I didn't even realize they knew I was looking at it! As a result, I worked harder than I knew I could and finished grade 9 with an 85% average. I completed highschool in the upper 80's and early 90's. I was internally driven after realizing that my parents would accept me no matter how I did in school. I know how you feel about marks but lets put that aside for now. I still have my grade 8 and 9 report card. This is unconditional parenting. There was no condition to receiving the ultimate gift (it was SO cool! I still have the box for that truck). But their unconditional love lit a fire within me that remains to this day. Subsequently, I finished university and became a secondary school teacher. I now have two of my own children. I'm glad to have found your books. However I should say that my wife and I have already been implementing many of your ideas even before reading your books. It just makes sense.

Posted On 07-15-2014 8:02 AM
Your Name: Rachael Neu
Email Address: My firstnamelastname *at* gmail
How did you find our site?: Google
Comment: Sometime in the last month or so, I came across this site and read the article "Why Self-Discipline is Overrated" - and I immediately fell head over heels in (philosophical) love with Alfie Kohn's ideas!

As a mom of a 16 month old and an academic librarian, his works have rocked my world. I recently bought "The Myth of the Spoiled Child" and checked out Punished by Rewards from the library (for the chapters addressing the work environment).

While much of what Mr. Kohn writes is clearly applicable to all educational, workplace, and parenting contexts, I wonder if he might be interested in addressing the following areas or contexts more explicitly:

- Daycare for children under age 3 - choosing them, working with them, etc for parents who have to work - how does a parent evaluate the care & teaching of our very young and often preverbal children in this often less than ideal setting? Where does Mr. Kohn stand in regard to daycare for children so young?

- Libraries are ostensibly committed to the concepts of information literacy, critical thinking, and lifelong learning and the area of library instruction has made great strides over the last 10 years or more. However, I would be interested in Mr. Kohn's thoughts on the role of librarians and library instruction - if he were to read up on what is typically involved in the work of an instruction librarian and offer tips.

- Libraries (and educational institutions) as workplaces - I work in a very hierarchical work environment and it seems so incredibly counter to the mission of our profession and field (both librarianship and the larger area of higher education). I would love to see more written about the need for your approach in the educational workplace, including libraries!!

Many thanks!

Posted On 07-06-2014 8:45 AM
Your Name: Yvan Ung
Email Address: klingon_ecology "at" hotmail.com
Comment: After reading the article "How not to get into college", I kept wondering under which circumstances one would want to attend an extremely elite college.

The answer is that graduates from extremely elite colleges are more desirable to employers because such colleges are pressure cookers and merely getting into one such college requires exorbitant amounts of sacrifices, and that people who can make such exorbitant sacrifices just to go to college are more likely to do well in the workplace, more so than simply getting the best from an applicant pool.

For this reason, some employers favor hiring people who attend, and graduate from, extremely elite colleges over students who graduate from even moderately elite colleges, to the point where the latter won't even get a shot at an interview in the more extreme cases (investment/international banking, major law firms, but in the case of law firms, change colleges for law schools).

Posted On 06-12-2014 5:00 PM
Your Name: Cynthia Klein
Email Address: cynthiaATbridges2understanding.com
Organization: bridges 2 understanding
Location: Redwood City, CA
How did you find our site?: I've read Alfie Kohn's books for years
Comment: We have been kindred spirits as I have raised my 25 year old daughter who is thriving. As a parenting educator, i recommend your books.

Posted On 05-28-2014 11:09 AM
Your Name: T. Cawlfield
Email Address: tcawlfield@gmail.com
How did you find our site?: Google
Comment: My two daughters, 10 and 12, have been having a tough time with excessive drill and hours of math homework in school. They are both in gifted/accelerated programs but I believe these programs do more harm than good. I don't know what to do. Maybe I can do some kind of "remediation" at home? Are there resources for parents and/or teachers focusing on secondary ed in math? .... I finally found Kohn's excerpt "What Works Better than Traditional Math Instruction" which resonated deeply with me. ... This constructivist approach is desperately needed in place of accelerated traditional programs that leave students disliking math and at the same time crippled in their ability to use the very skills they worked so hard to learn.  [edited for length]

Posted On 05-20-2014 8:19 AM
Your Name: lisa
Email Address: lisam20007@yahoo.com
How did you find our site?: book
Comment: I finished "Unconditional Parenting" on Mother's Day. As a parent to three girls (7/4/1), I've searched for a coherent approach to parenting for years. I've tried variations on punishment/reward, always with unease. As my eldest grew, that unease turned into worry. What was I teaching her? What impact was I having on our relationship? Your book gave voice and order to those concerns, and offered a very coherent alternative. The overwhelming balance of parenting advice (books, friends) really paints a picture of there is only one way (control), and if you don't choose it, you're doing your kids a disservice. I am deeply appreciative of finding your book; it has been a gift to our family. It gave me license to give up those things I was uncomfortable with and start working with my girls. We're all happier for it. Giving them some control, explanations - working with them - works - by which I mean, makes for happier, seemingly better adjusted kids. And a happier Mom (and Dad). Thank you!

Posted On 05-05-2014 7:08 AM
Your Name: Howard Phillips
Email Address: howard_at_58@yahoo.co.uk
Organization: Retired
Location: Puerto Rico
How did you find our site?: Daid Wees's blog
Comment: I have just read your piece on homework. Definitely 10/10 I wish you all the success in the world on this one. One of my views on homework, especially in math, is that it is a way of fixing the failures of the past in the education of the parents.

Posted On 05-04-2014 7:08 PM
Your Name: Robert H. Howard, PhD
Email Address: bobhmarg@sbcglobal.net
Organization: retired
Location: Illinois
How did you find our site?: google search
Comment:  I helped design a charter school in Framingham, Mass some 10 years ago. No Grades. Student led parent conferences where the student shows his/her portfolio. I now substitute teach K-8 in Illinois. Most classes have rewards which I do not pass out. Kohn for President! At least Secretary of Education.

Posted On 05-04-2014 2:47 PM
Your Name: selma wassermann
Email Address: selma_wassermann@sfu.ca
Organization: Simon Fraser University
Location: Vancouver, BC Canada
How did you find our site?: Google search
Comment: Thanks for the most important article in today's New York Times Week in Review section.  I hope all parents and teachers read it.

Posted On 04-12-2014 7:37 PM
Your Name: Kim Moraes
Email Address: kimm35_1965@yahoo.com
Location: Agoura Hills, CA
How did you find our site?: My brother
Comment: I just read your article, How to Create Non-Readers. It made me think of elementary school. I remember being in 6th grade at La Fiesta in Rohnert Park and being expected to log reading time into a journal. I never did it right. The fact is, I read so much longer than 20 minutes a day, but I would often do it in 10-minute increments. Logging the time was drudgery. When it came to the end of the week and it appeared that I had not completed my required reading, some kids actually teased me about it. It pissed me off and hurt my feelings all at the same time.

Thank you for the article, by-the-way. I homeschool my son, and it taught me many new concepts and reinforced much of what I already felt. Now if I can just get my husband on board...

Posted On 04-01-2014 2:15 PM
Your Name: GMChalykoff
Email Address: gerry.chalykoff@gmail.com
How did you find our site?: WBUR
Comment: Heard you on WBUR. Did you know that most all professions do not have sufficient research to back up interventions and practices?  Medicine with its 20 year history of evidence based practice still does not know how aspirin works. You gave the excuse of " no research" for every parenting behavior with which you disagree. Where is the research that backs up your ideas? Until  you have it, please refrain for using this excuse...

Posted On 04-01-2014 10:14 AM
Your Name: dori
Email Address: dori.jaf@gmail.com
Location: vancouver, bc canada
How did you find our site?: googled it!
Comment: thank you so much for your books. what you say is so important. i wish more people knew of your work.

Posted On 03-24-2014 8:59 AM
Your Name: andrew
Comment: it's good to critique dominant narratives. grand narratives tell us that boys are wild and girls are not scientists. they tell us that the poor are lazy and the wealthy are industrious. at best, larger narratives reduce and simplify complicated and nuanced ideas. at worst, they promote harmful ideas that injure us and everyone around us. there are no broad and clear solutions - not in life and not in education. systemic influences and systemic problems weigh heavily on academic and professional achievement - more heavily than other variables in context, including teacher effectiveness or .... grit. many critiques of Angela duckworth's research focus on grit argue that class realities severely limit academic achievement in high poverty schools. i agree! but detractors also often conflate larger marxist challenges with small foucauldian solutions. in full disclosure, i am a adjunct professor in education at a prestigious college of education. i complete research on education theory and practice, and i currently lead a study into reading grit, "reading grit: can passion and perseverance help improve reading proficiency?" i want to argue that grit is a path away from standardized educational reforms. instead, grit may offer teachers and students a framework to improve achievement and learning from any original position. teachers can promote important characteristics that transcend narrow skill instruction. kohn makes a subtle (but egregious) sleight of hand early in his critique. grit is decidedly different from self control in scholarly research. in fact, in her original research, duckworth explores early interest in self control research - and her subsequent disappointment. self-control (like self-esteem) simply does not hold the promise that early researchers believed. it may even be harmful, as kohn notes. grit is defined as passion and perseverance towards long term goals. in common use, there may be slide or play in the definitions of academic terms. however, common usage has loose and dynamic boundaries that research works to avoid. scholarly definitions are often very precise to help focus research analysis and evaluation. this isn't without it's problems, of course, but it does mean that kohn's move towards self control and self discipline is willfully unfair and dangerously dishonest

Posted On 03-15-2014 4:24 PM
Your Name: Teacher in Regina sk
Email Address: Ateacherinregina.hotmail.com
Organization: Regina public schools
Location: Regina Saskatchewan
How did you find our site?: Was at teacher convention when u blew my mind
Comment: Thank you for your words at our recent convention. You confirmed many things that I have always thought. I chuckle to think of the staff meeting that were called to speak about how we need to get our reading and math scores up and how we are not doing as well as the other "core" schools. Everything u said we are doing in our classrooms. Including teaching the test. You also touched on how right wing our curriculum is and the outcomes and indicators. Could you please expand on this. I am a few years from retirement and I would love to change the trend. Also what do you think about value added Assesment

Posted On 03-15-2014 1:17 PM
Your Name: Amy Walker
Email Address: ficwriter79@yahoo.com
Organization: None
Location: Illinois
How did you find our site?: Frequent reader
Comment: I would love it if you'd do an article on how students with disabilities fare in this hypercompetitive, testing-based system of schooling. In the "Race to the Top", are they being left on the bottom?

Posted On 03-10-2014 9:01 AM
Your Name: Heather
Email Address: heather.lynn.morgan@gmail.com
Location: United States
Comment: I have been on quite the journey since picking up a copy of Unconditional Parenting. I started reading it (I have a two-year-old son, which explains a lot) at the same time I began a college course titled Management Strategies for the Elementary Classroom. Reading Kohn's work alongside of my course readings has really forced me to look deeply at how I view my own child and children in general and how society views them and treats them. So pleased with Unconditional Parenting, I have recently been reading Kohn's education-related articles on his website and I just finished Beyond Discipline. In a few short weeks, I have gone from asking, "How am I supposed to manage my son (or students) if I can't do this or that" to realizing my job is not to manage or control my son or my future students. Although discipline strategies akin to assertive discipline have always left me with a bad taste in my mouth, I just wasn't aware of the alternatives. Kohn's ideas about schools and education speak to the idealist in me. When reading his books, I can envision my perfect classroom of wonderfully challenging student learners. In addition to questioning age-old child discipline strategies, I am now also asking, "Do we need grades, standardized tests and even standards?" Thank you Alfie Kohn for asking the tough questions and making readers really think. I will definitely now be a better parent and a better teach after reading your work.

Posted On 02-22-2014 3:33 PM
Your Name: Anonymous
Location: USA
How did you find our site?: author bio section of No Contest
Comment: Hey all

I'm a junior in high school. My school has a small library, and in it I one day found a copy of No Contest. It looked interesting so I began to read it regularly, sometimes during free periods and sometimes after school depending on when I had free time. It took a couple of months to get through the whole book and I just finished a couple days ago.

I already pretty much agreed with No Contest about the harmfulness of competition, but, as described in the book (particularly in the chapter about cheating), I had been one of those people who thought that competition was only bad when it was excessive. Since reading I have, of course, become convinced that competition is always excessive. The arguments of the book were very strong and I was impressed with the amount of psychological data cited. I also took note of some other books mentioned in No Contest (such as "The Pursuit of Loneliness" and "Injustice for All") and I look forward to reading them at some point in the future.

I also looked around online for refutations of the book, and of the idea of the inadequacy of competition in general. Nothing I have found really talked about or cited actual psychology, and most of the arguments for competition that I did find online have been in the context of trying to encourage certain behaviors, which as anyone who read No Contest would know (or anyone who knows anything about psychology), competition is actually terrible for encouraging any behavior, because it is an external motivator.

Furthermore, it seems like most of the people who defend structural competition also tend to be people who are very cynical and pessimistic of human nature, and who unimaginatively assume that the human condition will never improve, despite thousands of years of what I would say has been continual, slow progress. As discussed in the book, competition is often regarded, wrongly, as an inevitable part of human nature and social interaction.

I have though about this while I was reading, and one thing that the book mentioned but didn't really talk about at length (which is ok because it's kind of outside the scope of the book) is that competition's primary function is as a means of social control. That is, it is used to establish and maintain hierarchies. I think that the people mentioned above feel insecure of themselves, and are disturbed by the idea of true egalitarianism and cooperation between individuals. They are very much accustomed to hierarchy, and don't want to live without it.

I plan to go college. I really genuinely do want to go to college (even before reading the book, I knew that most people just do it because it's expected of them, their parents want them to, they think it is necessary in order to have a decent life, etc), and I will try to always keep in mind that it doesn't matter how I compare to others there, I ought to be after wisdom and practical knowledge, not "academic achievement" or titles... [edited for length]

Posted On 02-20-2014 8:40 PM
Your Name: Jeff Treistman
Email Address: jytreistman@gmail.com
Organization: Seattle Public Schools
Location: United States
How did you find our site?: books - google search
Comment: Reading Alfie Kohn has been a great hardship for me because almost every word adds fuel to my engine of understanding that just about everything at the school where I work as a teacher/librarian is completely wrong. Actually, the situation is not completely dire. There are some positives, but I sense that you might agree with my feeling that “accentuating the positive” leaves an awful lot to sweep under the carpet. There simply isn't enough good stuff going on, not nearly enough and despite the occasional positive good initiative, we are doing at least as much to harm our students as we are doing to help them. The “good” initiatives are the result of a hit or miss strategy and the ones that hit tend to blind the administration to all the the harm done by the misses. This engine of understanding of mine, currently being fueled by your and other similar writers’ work today, was built over a rather long period: 10 years of public schooling, two final years of high school at the progressive Cambridge School of Weston, four years in the unique educational atmosphere of Yellow Springs, Ohio and Antioch College, 23 years in the food and wine business in Seattle, another couple of years gaining my MA Ed and teaching certificate at Antioch University Seattle, teaching in Seattle Public Schools for 10 years now, 5 years as the school librarian; in other words through lots of work and study. With it I face an education system with monumental problems. My personality type takes this understanding and compels me to recognize and want to fix problems. This gets me into trouble because not only are most people unaware of most of the problems, when pointed out they take it personally and want to kill the messenger. So far I’ve managed to avoid this kind of death. I’ve done this by networking and trying to connect with like-minded people wherever they are. I have found them in my professional organization, the Washington Library Media Association and my union and through social media. This beast called ed reform is enormous. Educators are in a David and Goliath situation. We need to coalesce our secret weapon and create a strategic sling shot to dispatch the beast. How do we do that?

Posted On 01-29-2014 7:11 AM
Your Name: Tracy Hanson
Email Address: ngge.k12@gmail.com
Organization: Next Generation Global Education
Location: Globally
How did you find our site?: Search after hearing Alfie talk on NPR
Comment: "Report cards were sent out recently and their issuance always serve as a reminder of the following situation from a couple of years ago and how destructive grades can be to a kid's motivation. " This article took me back to my first year of teaching, 1979, and with it all the pain, anger and frustrations I felt then blistered up once more. The title of the blog is, "Why Are You Crying? Your Grades?" Reflection: My first year of teaching. I had a multi-grade 1-3. A wonderful group that came together more as a family then a class. Two boys in the grade that found reading very, very HARD! Just after Christmas break, the light bulbs went on and they began to put things together. At "level"? No. But excited and happy about what they were doing. No doubt they would be on or above "level" next year. April hits - the Iowa Basic Skills test time (Yup, that's what they were back then.) Directions are read to the students: "It should take about 20–30 minutes to read the passages in this book and answer the 6 questions in the Answer Section. " You may begin. To us, it seemed like a simple reading passage but to those boys, motivated and excited, it was "the kiss of death". They sat there for 20 long minutes silently crying (so as not to disturb the others). All efforts to help them regain confidence that year failed. I cry with them as I continue to cry for our children. Whether it's grades or standard tests, we drain the excitement and motivation out of our children. We have to stop putting them up to a systems yard stick. Let them draw their own lines on the wall.

Posted On 01-27-2014 1:45 PM
Your Name: hal
Email Address: hal(AT)aded4me.org
Organization: Adult Education Instructor
Location: NW Arkansas
How did you find our site?: Google / Alfie\'s books
Comment: I first read Kohn's "No Contest" while taking Ed Psych in grad school in 1993. The concepts have niggled at my mind ever since. I've been an adult educator now for nearly 20 years and now Alfie comes at me again. When the student is ready the teacher appears. January 2014 has heralded the new GED exam which is based on the CCS. The GED is much, much harder and more thorough than the 2002 version. There is math in three of the four sections. It's on computer and requires basic computer skills including some keyboarding. As an educator I work with students who never completed HS. Many were wounded (figuratively speaking) by the school system or who had other personal concerns (family situations, LD, etc.) that caused them to drop out. Alfie's wisdom will help me to become a better "facilitator" to my students. You Alfie, and Sir Ken Robinson (www.TED.com videos), have caused me to think anew and you've twiddled my paradigms. I can't thank you enough. I somehow survived public schools and a two state universities! I just wish I had been aware 40+ years ago.

Posted On 01-22-2014 5:32 PM
Your Name: Michelle Johns
Email Address: thejohnsfive@aol.com
Location: USA
How did you find our site?: BadassTeachersAssociation on FB
Comment: Hello. I just wanted you to know that I have recently discovered some excellent articles that you have written regarding testing and the common core standards. Thank you so much for your enlightened words. It is a comfort to know that educated people have actually written about these subjects! If you have not done so already, please check out www.badassteacher.org or our FB page BadassTeachersAssociation. Your articles are being shared there. We are a group of over 36,000 who believe that the Common Core with his excessive testing is hurting education professionals and our students. Best wishes.

Posted On 12-29-2013 4:48 PM
Your Name: Arne J Leon
Email Address: aleon69@msn.com
Location: Mill Valley, California
How did you find our site?: Wiki
Comment: I've just begun reading "Punished by Rewards", a Christmas gift from my son. I've been "BF Skinner-ed" from the cradle. Now, with ten grandchildren [19 to 6 years] I wish to spare them from that "box". Thanks

Posted On 12-16-2013 3:30 PM
Your Name: Ron De Shanne
Email Address: chevbuckett@hotmail.com
Organization: Parent
Location: Ellendale, Minnesota
How did you find our site?: By accident.
Comment: Thank you!

Posted On 12-06-2013 6:12 AM
Your Name: haleema subzwari
Organization: art teacher, counsellor
Location: pakistan
Comment: I have read Mr. Kohn's articles and must say that you have changed the way i think!! for the one year i have been seeking guidance from your wisdom. God bless u! Sir.

Posted On 12-03-2013 11:48 AM
Your Name: David Cronkite
Email Address: dcronkite1@mac.com
Organization: www.cronkitepercussion.com
Location: Kanata, ON, Canada
How did you find our site?: Mentioned on CBC radio interview
Comment: I am a private music teacher who teachers drums and piano. I want to rework my studio to reflect the research Mr. Kohn writes about. Any music teachers out there who want to share?

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