Rethinking Homework Surveys

Rethinking Homework Surveys It’s not uncommon for schools to distribute surveys to parents in an effort to learn more about families’ experiences with homework.  While it might be even more helpful to ask the students themselves, it’s always commendable when someone wants to check out how a policy is affecting those on the receiving end.  Unfortunately, what’s most striking about ... Read More

Do Tests Help Students Learn or Was a New Study Misreported? (##)

The relationship between educational policies and educational research is both fascinating and disturbing. Sometimes policy makers, including those who piously invoke the idea of “data-driven” practice, pursue initiatives that they favor regardless of the fact that there is no empirical support for them (e.g., high-stakes testing) or even when the research suggests the policy in . . . (Read More)

“Ready to Learn” = Easier to Educate (##)

The phrase “ready to learn,” frequently applied to young children, is rather odd when you stop to think about it, because the implication is that some kids aren’t. Have you ever met a child who wasn’t ready to learn — or, for that matter, already learning like crazy? The term must mean something much more . . . (Read More)

How to Create Nonreaders (#)

Autonomy-supportive teachers seek a student’s initiative…whereas controlling teachers seek a student’s compliance.

                                                                                                       — J. Reeve, E. Bolt, & Y. Cai
Not that you asked, but my favorite Spanish proverb, attributed to the poet Juan Ramón Jiménez, can be translated as follows:  “If they give you lined paper, write the other way.”  In keeping with this general . . . (Read More)

Por Qué Está Sobrevalorada La Autodisciplina

PHI DELTA KAPPAN Noviembre 2008 Por qué está sobrevalorada la autodisciplina La (inquietante) teoría y práctica del control desde dentro Por Alfie Kohn Si hay un rasgo del carácter por cuyos beneficios hayan abogado tanto los educadores tradicionales como los progresistas, bien pudiera ser la autodisciplina. Casi todo el mundo quiere que los estudiantes hagan caso omiso de sus impulsos ... Read More

What Works Better than Traditional Math Instruction

From Chapter 9: "Getting the 3 R's Right" in The Schools Our Children Deserve (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999) What Works Better than Traditional Math Instruction Why the Basics Just Don’t Add Up By Alfie Kohn The still-dominant Old School model begins with the assumption that kids primarily need to learn “math facts”:  the ability to say “42” as soon as they hear ... Read More

Students Don’t “Work”–They Learn (*)

EDUCATION WEEK September 3, 1997   Students Don't "Work"--They Learn By Alfie Kohn September is a new beginning, a time for fresh starts. Consider, then, a resolution that you and your colleagues might make for this school year: From now on, we will stop referring to what students do in school as "work." Importing the nomenclature of the workplace is ... Read More