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Posted On 09-08-2013 8:09 PM
Your Name: karin wentworth-ping
Email Address:
Organization: wentworth people
Location: sydney, australia
How did you find our site?: intuition and skill


Because you are there , I feel sane! For 5 years at my children's' school  I have put the case against homework and have been utterly amazed at the parents' acceptance and support of this archaic and unnecessary system. Even the teachers that I've continually talked with accept that there is little or no value in the homework they set. Why are they still setting homework? Because  SOME parents want it and SOME demand more as proof that the teachers are doing their job and their children are achieving, er, something! Eventually, this year, (and to my delight) the years K to 3 were told there was no longer any homework to do (yea) HOWEVER the teachers will still set homework for those who want to do it (huh?), for those parents who want their children to do it. Here's a paradox way too complex for these little ones to comprehend, so instead they interpret this as : the teacher says there is homework, others are doing their homework, I should do the homework because when my friend gives his in the teacher smiles at him and says well done. Not good enough. However, a breakthrough came later with the school announcing that there will be a complete review of the homework policy, and there has been. There is a meeting tonight to present the outcome.......I am in combative mood and armed with much of your data and information. Wish me luck....

Posted On 08-25-2013 5:37 PM
Your Name: Nicole
Email Address:
Location: New Mexico
How did you find our site?: College Professsor
Comment: I've been reading Beyond Discipline and the more I read the more I realize just how much I agree with Kohn. I was introduced to him by a college professor in New York. I'm going to try to implement some of the techniques that I think will create more of a community in my classroom. Last week, I realized how tired I was of "disciplining and coercing" my students into good behavior. I want them to make their own good choices regarding behavior. Kohn is onto something here.

Posted On 08-14-2013 7:50 PM
Your Name: Elizabeth A
Email Address:
Location: Crestline, CA
How did you find our site?: Google
Comment: I heard Alfie Kohn on Air Talk with Larry Mantle on KPCC today, and his comments that it is always a bad idea to manipulate our children's behaviour were baffling to me. How can a parent fulfill the responisbility to keep a very young child safe without resorting to the "verbal doggie biscuit" of praise, or some other method of manipulative conditioning? I would have liked to have heard what he would do about a 2 year old who wants to run toward moving vehicles in a parking lot, for example. I'd rather "manipulate" my daughter by praising her for holding my hand or tolerating me carrying her than "respect her choice" and have her end up dead or injured. I strongly recommend he address this issue of safety in future interviews, because I was just confused by his position. It seemed like he must never have lived with a toddler when I heard him say that it was always a bad idea to manipulate our children's behavior.

Posted On 08-04-2013 8:02 AM
Your Name: Narahari
Email Address: narahariprem(at)
Location: Norway
How did you find our site?: Your book

When I was a young boy i didn't want to join other boys fighting over a ball on the field. In the school i didn't like sports classes because many of them involved these kinds of competitive games. Being a man, i was programmed to think that there's is something wrong with me because i don't enjoy competition. Only now having read “No contest” can I really appreciate myself for being more human than all these structures were asking me to be. Never before i have found anybody being able to so clearly analyse subjects that for most people seem unquestionable. Also I have seen your DVD:s “Unconditional Parenting” and “No grades + no homework = better learning” and i found them very interesting, i wish every parent and teacher would take time to see them. Now i'm going to get “punished by rewards” and i'm quite excited to discover yet more insights that resonate with my inner feelings. Thank you so much for sharing your discoveries with us :)

Posted On 07-26-2013 12:56 AM
Your Name: Svetlana
Email Address:
Organization: Novgorod State University
Location: Veliky Novgorod, Russia
How did you find our site?: very good
Comment: My name is Svetlana Kalinina, I'm from Russia's oldest city of Veliky Novgorod. I am a teacher of psychology at the University and a practicing child psychologist. I want to thank you for your book! It expressed all that I am trying to convey intuitively to parents, in addition, it has helped me raise my two daughters. Unfortunately, it still is in Russian only in the electronic version, but many parents it is read, and the approach of unconditional parenting is gradually taking root in Russia, although it is very, very hard. Thank you again!

Posted On 07-24-2013 12:11 PM
Your Name: Joann O'Toole
Email Address: otoolejoann AT
Location: United States
How did you find our site?: google
Comment: I thought you would love to read this article about high school students who actually developed a class, within their public school, with the exact philosophy you talk about in your books. I found it very astonishing that students figured this out for themselves and actually did something about it. A must read for sure....

Posted On 07-07-2013 2:38 PM
Your Name: Merrily Davidson
Location: Australia
How did you find our site?: One of your quotes was posted on Facebook
Comment: Fantastic to find someone that thinks this way. Have been thinking this way for a while myself. Although I coped fairly well as a student, however not great. I now have 2 sons with Dyslexia, it's made me see the many flaws in the Education System. If only we good get your message out there On Australia

Posted On 07-06-2013 2:37 AM
Your Name: Ula
Location: Poland
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
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:
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:
Organization: Parent
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:
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:
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 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:
Organization: 7 Mindsets
Location: GA
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.
Location: CT
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:
Organization: retired
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
Location: UK
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
Location: Oregon
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:
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:
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:
Organization: United Arab Emirates University
Location: UAE
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:
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:
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:
Organization: parent
Location: Ontario, Canada
How did you find our site?:
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!

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