To read current comments by other visitors, simply scroll down.
To read earlier postings,
for access to archived messages (March 1999 – October 2005).
To add your own comment – about Alfie Kohn's work, any of the topics discussed on this site, or the site itself – just click on “Sign Guestbook” below. Comments will, in most cases, be viewable on the site by the following day.
They may, however, be edited for length or to remove commercial promotions or other content judged to be inappropriate. If you include your e-mail address,
we recommend you use "AT" in place of "@" to thwart spammers.
To send a private message, please click
on the Contact Us link.
Thanks for visiting!
|Posted On 07-06-2013 2:37 AM|
|Your Name||: Ula|
|Comment||: Thank you, thank you, thank you for your book "Unconditional parenting"! I'm a mother who was struggling to find some alternatives to rewards system that today's society is full of. It always sounded fake and artificial to me, not to mention controlling part, but literally all of the people I know are using them (or punishments) and think that's the best for their kids. After reading your book I finally have some arguments to try to convince them and for myself to relax and try some non-controlling methods. Thank you!|
|Posted On 06-19-2013 5:24 PM|
|Your Name||: steve hein|
|Email Address||: stevehein at hotmail.com|
|Comment||: Yesterday I found Daniel Willingham's attack of Alfie Kohn. Later I read Alfie's reply.
Tonight when I woke up during the night, as I often do when something is troubling me, I laid in bed and thought for a long time. Then I got up and did these two searches in Google.
"I love Alfie Kohn" and "I love Daniel Willingham"
The results say a lot. Please try it yourself and post the results here. I want Alfie to know he is loved by many people, and also to *feel* loved, cared about... and protected, for I feel protective of Alfie Kohn - words not yet found on Google, by the way. That, in fact, was my main feeling as I initially read the Willingham blog - protective of Alfie.
It hurts me to see him attacked, and I will say misrepresented, as he was by David Willingham.
I want to also add my own entries to the Google database or to the "cloud."
I love Alfie Kohn's passion. I love Alfie Kohn's energy. I love Alfie Kohn's dedication. I love Alfie Kohn's persistence. --
I will put a copy of this on my new page for my site
To anyone who reads this, if you want, email me with your thoughts and feelings, so I can add them to the page.
Keep up the good work, Alfie.
|Posted On 05-13-2013 3:06 AM|
|Your Name||: Liz Archer|
|Email Address||: email@example.com|
|Organization||: Private School overseas|
|Location||: currently Bangladesh|
|How did you find our site?||: from a post on Facebook|
|Comment||: I knew the moment I saw "No grades + No homework = Better Learning" that I was going to like Alfie Kohn! He was referenced by teachers I respect and I am not disappointed. I just presented the above equation to my grade 7 students here and it resulted in excited, sincere and passionate debate - love it!!! Thank you for starting the conversations we need to be having!|
|Posted On 04-14-2013 11:14 AM|
|Your Name||: Jeffery|
|Email Address||: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Location||: San Francisco|
|How did you find our site?||: Google|
|Comment||: My wife and I read your book Unconditional Parenting while we were on vacation and our 3 year-old son was staying at his grandparents. It became a parenting-retreat of sorts as we retooled our approach to some of his more challenging behaviors. I want to just thank for you for what feels like giving me a new perspective that has changed the way I interact with my son. Now I don't feel like I'm fighting him all the time, giving him "consequences" and time-out's. Telling myself I love him unconditionally but not all of his behaviors and hoping or wanting to believe that he knows the difference between those two things (but how could he?). It had started to feel like we were spending all of our time in a desperate attempt to maintain "limits." So thank you, because without wanting to overdramatize this, I feel a bit like I was losing my relationship with my son, and since we've been taking a step back from that positive reinforcement attempts, I feel like I've got it back and we're having fun together again! Jeffery|
|Posted On 04-13-2013 4:49 PM|
|Your Name||: Alison|
|Location||: New Zealand|
|How did you find our site?||: Google|
|Comment||: I am a stay-at-home mother of two intelligent, strong-willed, active boys aged three and four and a half. I chanced upon "unconditional parenting" in an article headline in a local parenting publication. I was wholly sceptical, only reading the article to gain some understanding into what I expected to be another overtly permissive technique that raised "out-of-control" children which would serve to make my job more difficult by having children and parents with whom mine interacted with yet another set of expectations & behaviours. What I had, however, was a "light-bulb moment" that, without exaggeration, caused me to immediately change my parenting style. I was a highly over-controlling parent that practised conditional parenting, as it a societal norm, despite knowing instinctively and from experience that punishment/reward techniques are not the right approach. In the week since, I bought and read your book and my relationship with my children has already clearly improved. In short: thank you for changing my life & improving the future of my children.
|Posted On 04-13-2013 4:42 AM|
|Your Name||: Joanne Bonnici|
|Email Address||: email@example.com|
|Location||: Quebec, Canada|
|How did you find our site?||: From a friend|
|Comment||: As I go to tutor my friend's child after an already too long school day, my stomach is in knots. He sees me and it's like if his jail sentence has arrived. He looks at me with such distress and says: "You know, all day at school it's like if I'm doing homework, I have to sit down, at my desk, I don't like the work and I find it difficult but I do it anyways because I am at school and I have no choice. At least, when the bell rings at the end of the day, I think I can go play but no, I have to sit down and do more work." I look at him, and I would love to have the proper words to tell him that he is not right, that it is important that he sits down again and do again more work. But I can't.... I don't think he understood all that much more because he is just saturated but at least his homework is done so his teacher won't reprimand him and cut off his recess. |
School hours have increased, homework has increased, kindergarden has gone from half a day to a full day. And now they are wanting to create full time preschools. I even heard someone speak of shortening summer time. And plus we have before- and after-school daycare. It's crazy!...
And then we cram them into a bunch of organized activities to compensate for all the things they didn't get to do at school. We have to turn them into hockey stars and musical geniuses. So it's do the homework, throw your dinner down your throat quickly so we can head off to the rest of your overly busy day. I'm getting dizzy just writing about it! Well, after stressing out the whole year about the entry of my daughter in the school system and into this crazy hectic lifestyle, I want to tell everyone that I refuse! I refuse to submit my children to this neurotic lifestyle....Children need time to be children. Let's give them back some of their childhood, please!
Joanne Bonnici Teacher, mom and lover of childhood
[edited for length]
|Posted On 03-27-2013 6:24 PM|
|Your Name||: steven hsieh|
|Email Address||: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Comment||: If you read these books " Drive", by Daniel Pink, "Start With Why" by Simon Sinek, " Flow" By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi," [No Contest:] The Case Against Competition" by Alfie Kohn............. I am sure there many more books and articles that I missed. During my research, I have found out that all these books suggest that people are generally not motivated in the long-term by competition, but rather mastery and meaningfulness. It does matter if it is in business or in individual pursuit. It is all the same in the end. An good example is UCLA basketball coach. They won 10 national championship, including record 7 consecutive. A world record for winning 88 games in a row. No other teams in history have won that many. I found out that of all the games they won. None was about winning a trophy. None was about keeping track of their scores. In fact, he told his players not to look at the scoreboard, it is distracting and useless information. It was not about beating the other teams. Every single game they played had the same purpose. The purpose that John Wooden believed in everyday that is..........do the best that we can do, no matter what the outcome and that our ONLY competition should be with ourselves. In other words, you are successful even if you lose the game as long as you gave it your best shot.|
|Posted On 03-26-2013 7:53 PM|
|Your Name||: Jeff Waller|
|Email Address||: email@example.com|
|Organization||: 7 Mindsets|
|How did you find our site?||: Saw Alfie Speak|
|Comment||: Thanks for your presentation tonight Alfie. It was much needed by my wife and I. You are passionate and inspirational. You pushed are thinking and we will forever be better parents because of you. Thanks for that great gift.|
|Posted On 03-21-2013 5:03 PM|
|Your Name||: Mark R.|
|How did you find our site?||: Reference somewhere|
|Comment||: Your book Unconditional Parenting is frighteningly accurate. Honestly, it makes mince meat out of other parenting books I've read. I've got three boys and I'm doing my best to avoid simple parenting mistakes because I know they're so easy to make and last a lifetime. From your lessons I'm actually learning a lot about myself. Thanks - and I'm sure my boys would thank you if they could. Mark|
|Posted On 03-20-2013 11:01 AM|
|Your Name||: Nancy Tomhave|
|Email Address||: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Location||: Ventura, CA|
|How did you find our site?||: Daughter pointed out article|
|Comment||: I read the article on 5 reasons not to say "good job". I've been telling people that self esteem isn't about praising but paying attention. Instead of saying "good picture", ask about it. "I noticed you used a lot of blue; is that your favorite color?" etc. I'm so glad to see someone else say the same thing. However, I believe it is a good idea to let someone know when they've done something right (even adults) instead of only telling them when they've done something wrong. Only saying something's wrong leaves a vacuum because something has to fill the space. That's where telling a person they did something right comes in. So they know how to fill that vacuum.|
|Posted On 03-15-2013 2:59 PM|
|Your Name||: Julie Dent|
|How did you find our site?||: google|
|Comment||: I am a new(ish) parent who has just discovered your stuff. It is so refreshing to me and gives me hope that our societies will eventually realise there are better ways of doing things. I hope you come to the UK to give a lecture sometime, i would be very interested to see you.|
|Posted On 02-28-2013 9:44 AM|
|Your Name||: Holly|
|How did you find our site?||: from my dad|
|Comment||: I'm a high school student, and I love reading your articles! Whenever I used to mention to my friends any problems with the way schools are run, they would just shrug it off and say things like "Well, there's no other way to do it." I couldn't believe that my own friends could be so narrow-minded. Schools don't teach students how to think for themselves anymore. It's so great to hear that there is a better way!|
|Posted On 02-19-2013 10:02 AM|
|Your Name||: Barbara Taylor|
|Email Address||: email@example.com|
|How did you find our site?||: Read books by Alfie|
|Comment||: Just want to thank Alfie Kohn for his thoughts and his books. I tutor in an elementary school here in Columbus Ohio, in a less affluent neighborhood. The kids need so much help. I try to avoid the whole "competition" mindset, but the overwhelming desire is to say "good!" or "right!" when they read a word right. I feel that it's most important to have the right attitude while tutoring. I constantly try to check my own goals. Am I truly trying to figure out where the child is having difficulty, and trying to address that issue. That is what I try to focus on, not what specific words might come out of my mouth, because it's hard to control that all the time.|
In my life, a teacher's attitude toward me is what I remember the most, not every little word he or she said. In fact, the one teacher in my life who abused me (emotionally - it was a substitute, thankfully only lasted a few days), it wasn't so much his words but the way he said them - the meaning was unmistakable.
Thanks for letting me comment and thanks for Mr. Kohn's work!
|Posted On 02-07-2013 10:43 AM|
|Your Name||: Charles Stanford|
|Email Address||: stancharATd55.k12.id.us|
|Organization||: Blackfoot School District #55|
|Location||: Blackfoot Idaho|
|How did you find our site?||: Race to Nowhere clip|
|Comment||: It's me again. I've been working my way through the articles you have here and again, can't tell you how validated, vindicated and inspired I feel while reading them. The concept of praise being a means of control with negative consequences surprised me, but it also is making sense. Last night my four-year old wanted to practice writing words. I watched what I said and calmly told her the letters that went in the words, and when she wrote them out I held back the "Awesome!" that wanted to come out, channeling my great joy into "All right! You did it. How does it feel to write?"|
"Good!" she replied. And kept writing more, for longer than she usually draws. I said "Yes, writing is fun," meaning to share in her joy at discovering and developing this skill. I think it came across as I intended.
I work as a PR specialist for a school district in eastern Idaho, and often feel something like a mole, harboring the radical ideas I do. My work is to promote the good things the students and teachers are doing for the public to know about, and after reading "Bad Signs" I decided that I could showcase the students' artwork that they hang on the walls of the elementary schools here. I've gone to three different schools so far taking pictures of paper snowmen, handprints, owls, perspective drawings etc., which will go up on the district's Facebook page. I figure this is a good start.
Finally, if you haven't already, you should check out ZERO out of FIVE, a blog that features funny and defiant answers to school tests and assignments. The resilience they show strengthens my faith in humanity.
Speaking of resilience, are you familiar with the work of Larry Brendtro and Martin Brokenleg?
|Posted On 02-03-2013 2:26 AM|
|Your Name||: Thomas Ahrens|
|Email Address||: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Organization||: United Arab Emirates University|
|How did you find our site?||: google after reading harvard business review|
|Comment||: For those who are interested in the management implications of Kohn's thinking, please read Kohn's Harvard Business Review article from 1993 (Sep/Oct93, Vol. 71 Issue 5, p54-63) and ESPECIALLY the misguided, ideologically blinded "responses" in the next HBR issue (Nov/Dec93, Vol. 71 Issue 6, p48-49). My favourite for not-seeing-the-wood-for-the-trees is G. Bennett Steward, of Stern-Steward fame....|
|Posted On 01-23-2013 11:16 AM|
|Your Name||: Charles Stanford|
|Email Address||: email@example.com|
|Location||: eastern Idaho|
|How did you find our site?||: Race to Nowhere clip|
|Comment||: I just barely found out about you by watching one of the small clips about the Race to Nowhere film, but when I heard you say "homework may be the single greatest extinguisher of children's curiosity that we have yet invented" I wanted to jump up and yell out "F*** yeah!" I can't tell you what a relief it is to finally see people owning up to what I knew as a child. I hated homework with a passion. My school performance never measured up to the ability that teachers saw: it drove them nuts, it drove me and my parents nuts, and all the while the grownups were operating under the assumption that I had to learn to get with the program, and I?|
I just wanted to learn stuff.
How many more children will go through the same bullsh!t before enough grownups lay down their power trips and wise up I do not know. But I feel like calling a flood of blessings down on your head for doing what you're doing. Thank you!
|Posted On 01-21-2013 8:39 AM|
|Your Name||: Matt Varnell|
|Email Address||: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Location||: Atlanta, Ga|
|Comment||: I would love to have some dialogue with any other high school teachers who are implementing Kohn's theories in the classroom. Philosophically, I am in agreement with almost everything he says, but practically: my class is often in chaos. I know Kohn doesn't like to say "here's exactly what you should do," but I am really struggling. So many days I just want to switch to dictator mode because the freedom I allow the kids is not being harnessed for learning. Maybe it's my fault. Maybe I'm not doing the right things. Any ideas or conversation would be appreciated! |
|Posted On 01-19-2013 11:48 AM|
|Your Name||: Karin Sumbler|
|Email Address||: kjsum10athotmail.com|
|Location||: Ontario, Canada|
|How did you find our site?||: goodreads.com|
|Comment||: So far i've read the No homework book and wish the teachers at my daughter's school would read it too!! We get along until homework time comes. The way i get her to do it (she's 6) is to tell her it's stupid and lets hurry up- it's only 10 min. worth. This is different than a project or speech that obviously may need a parent's assistance, or out of school time. I took my son out of school years ago because i hated the fights over homework. i figured if i had to teach him anyway, I might as well do it during the day. Ended up homeschooling him from gr. 6-12.
Just finished reading Punished by rewards. Lots of interesting info there. Could be shortened into a smaller faster book for parents because that would take out a lot of the repetitiousness of the chapters. Did a lot of thinking while reading this!
|Posted On 01-08-2013 10:38 AM|
|Your Name||: Dan Anderson|
|Email Address||: Dander at aol.com|
|Organization||: Savs Our Schools and local BOE|
|How did you find our site?||: Wife|
|Comment||: Has anyone used the Instructional Rounds model? Can it be used to really make a positive change input public schools?|
|Posted On 01-05-2013 2:09 AM|
|Your Name||: Jenna H.|
|How did you find our site?||: Searching Google|
|Comment||: I am not a teacher or affiliated with any university or educational group. I am simply a student. And at 22 years old you ,Mr.Kohn, have validated for me everything I have always believed and felt about my own education. The books of yours that I have are littered with highlighter marks and notes. There isn't a single page that doesn't have some. Most of them say things like, "YES!"and "Thank You!". I have always had difficulty in school. I should say that I didn't care very much about school and I knew from a very early age that I wasn't going to find the answers I was looking for in school. This,I believe, is why I read as much as I do and think and explore and argue as much as I do. I wanted to learn but not under the pressure of grades and disappointment because of them. I struggled in math for so long because of uncompromising stiff math teachers and snide looks and my own self-esteem for getting something right away. I couldn't attend my own Middle School graduation because I got a "D" in my math class. A remedial one at that. It wasn't until I got to college that I realized I could just teach myself from the book and I did much better because I found a way that works for me. A big part in what I think should change in the education system. Figuring out how students learn and then correlating that with how teachers teach. Anyways, I'm ranting now. I just wanted to tell you thank you and I am working to get others to read your works. I am very grateful for them. To put simply, you're kind of my hero.|
|Posted On 12-10-2012 7:00 PM|
|Your Name||: Ram Neta|
|Email Address||: email@example.com|
|Organization||: University of North Carolina|
|Location||: Chapel Hill, NC|
|How did you find our site?||: Word of mouth|
|Comment||: Alfie Kohn taught a philosophy course at Phillipps Academy, Andover in the summer of 1982. I was one of his students. It was my introduction to philosophy, and also my belated introduction to learning. Kohn was the most effective and most memorable teacher I have had. I still think of him now as I design my own courses, and design my children's education.|
|Posted On 12-02-2012 12:31 PM|
|Your Name||: Colin Gilmartin|
|Email Address||: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Organization||: Greatness University|
|Location||: New Orleans|
|How did you find our site?||: The Schools our Children Deserve|
|Comment||: Mr. Kohn, I was given your book "No Contest" as I was searching for how to be a better coach and your credibility and painstaking search for the truth has been rewarded.|
|Posted On 12-01-2012 11:43 AM|
|Your Name||: Elizabeth|
|Email Address||: eliz_manionATatt.net|
|Location||: Fort Worth|
|How did you find our site?||: Good Housekeeping, Oct 2012|
|Comment||: Sensei Kohn, You have made the case against homework for me. My 8-y-o son didn't need to think about it. We get along so well until it's time for homework. I'll be a fan of yours for life, oh wise one.|
|Posted On 11-29-2012 3:28 AM|
|Your Name||: Jacob Fallis|
|Email Address||: email@example.com|
|Organization||: National Heritage Academies|
|How did you find our site?||: Reading your books|
|Comment||: Amazing work! I hope to one day meet you to continue to gain all of the knowledge you possess.|
|Posted On 11-27-2012 12:01 PM|
|Your Name||: Gail Kelly|
|Email Address||: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Location||: Albany, New York|
|How did you find our site?||: Article in family circle |
|Comment||: Someone sent me the article in family circle, October 2012
Issue. What a great article. I think every parent should read it. I was sent this article because I was talking to other people about how much homework my middle and highschool students have. I am very disappointed at times that they have so much homework, I often wonder what is being done in the class room. I will be sure to share this with others. |