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 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. |
|Posted On 11-26-2012 2:10 AM|
|Your Name||: Jeremy Gill|
|Email Address||: email@example.com|
|How did you find our site?||: Typed in "competetion is bad" in google!|
|Comment||: So pleased to have found this site. Your research confirms suspicions I have held for years, competition is the root of the problems I had with my own education and is responsible for alot of the things I dont like about our society. Your site has provided me with the reasons why.
I have always disliked competition but felt that this must be my problem. However in recent years, playing board games with my kids, I realised that it was more fun for all of us if we collaborated, it was more creative and everyone got a higher score than if we competed.|
|Posted On 11-17-2012 3:21 PM|
|Your Name||: Jeri Reid|
|Email Address||: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|How did you find our site?||: not paying attention|
|Comment||: How delightful! You are all about natural flow! You are all about thwarting manmade doctrines, the "should be's" of life... you confirm freedom of thought and being... and with that I commend your messege and confirmation for all who find your work to be of sound inner peace! |
|Posted On 11-08-2012 9:15 AM|
|Your Name||: Dr Gordon Gregory|
|Email Address||: email@example.com|
|Location||: Sheffield, UK|
|How did you find our site?||: google|
I only discovered Mr Kohn's books about 3 weeks ago and have got half way through "punished by rewards".
First I would like to express complete confusion at the number of internet critics who claim Mr Kohn’s books to be biased and one sided in their interpretation of behaviourist literature. In fact the account of the behaviourist point of view was so balanced that it almost convinced me of its validity (to an extent)
I would like to recount a perfect experience of the intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation in me. When I qualified as a doctor I loved my job and worked for a fairly good salary, working beyond my hours, as we all do, with no resentment. I was happy in my job, even when it was a bit crappy.
I am really enjoying the book for a number of reasons but most particularly as I realised and developed a similar philosophy as a teenager and after becoming a dad at 19, I have bought up my children in a similar philosophy....
Then I became a locum doctors for 2 years. This meant I was paid per hour. My earning sky-rocketed, but I then found my enjoyment of the job went, my bank balance, even with me consciously telling myself not to let it, became my extrinsic motivation. I have now moved back to a salary but the trick away from extrinsic motivation is far harder than the trip to it...
[edited for length]
|Posted On 10-23-2012 9:50 AM|
|Your Name||: Brian|
|Email Address||: brianrc93ATgmail.com|
|Location||: Milford, NJ|
|How did you find our site?||: Very inviting...just kidding, via Google search|
|Comment||: I've been a fan of Mr. Kohn's since "You Know What They Say" which I read back in 1992. I think quite often about Mr. Kohn's criticism of rewards, and about a process he suggests could be used to eliminate a behavior (reward it for a period of time, and then take the reward away). As I was thinking about using this method with the behaviors I don't like in my own kids, I first of all was wondering if any parents have attempted this, and if so, what the results were. It seems a little perverse to actually reward "bad behavior", and so I'm wondering perhaps if what rewards do effectively, is convey values, what authorities regard as important, even if they do not induce compliance. So, transitioning from parenting to the workplace, even if the use of raises or merit pay does not directly lead to workplace achievement, it does at the very least convey the message that achievement and merit are important.
|Posted On 10-10-2012 1:27 PM|
|Your Name||: Diane Carothers|
|Email Address||: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Location||: Carol Stream, IL|
|How did you find our site?||: It was mentioned at the talk last night.|
|Comment||: I attended your talk at Glenbard South High School last night and first of all, Will you marry me? Just kidding. (sort of) Second, I would like to encourage you to keep going out and speaking to people because everybody needs to hear what you have to say. It was obvious to me that several people didn't really hear you but hopefully you have planted a seed in their minds. Even if you only opened the eyes (and mind) of one person, just think of what that will mean for their children and their descendants. You definitely inspired me to change my ways.|
|Posted On 10-09-2012 10:03 PM|
|Your Name||: Monika Moro|
|Email Address||: email@example.com|
|Location||: Lombard IL|
|How did you find our site?||: GPS presentation|
|Comment||: Thank you very much for the lecture tonight, it was brilliant.
I wish for all people to hear your message and be able to change and live it. Let's teach our kids love and not fear. Instead of believing that life is tough and training our kids to be tough to survive, we can choose to change the world to be kind, loving and fair, so it is safe for our kids to be kind, loving, fair and gentle too.
|Posted On 10-08-2012 8:18 AM|
|Your Name||: Sheila Woodby|
|How did you find our site?||: Family Circle Magazine|
|Comment||: I read your article on to much homework for kids. I just want to tell you that it is the most intelligent article that I have read in a long time. I agree with you 100% ,when my boys were in school the afternoons were pure hell with all the homework they had to do before ball practice, bed or anything els. I was SO glad when they got out of school. NO MORE HOMEWORK. Keep up the good work. Maybe someday kids and patents will not have to go through what I we did when they go to school. Sheila|