Archived Guestbook

To read comments by other visitors, simply scroll down.

To read earlier postings, click here for access to archived messages (March 1999 October 2005).
Back to ListShowing 26 - 50 Of 725    Next

Posted On 02-20-2014 8:40 PM
Your Name: Jeff Treistman
Email Address:
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:
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)
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 ( 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:
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 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:
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:
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:
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?

Posted On 11-03-2013 5:49 AM
Your Name: Miles Blanton
Email Address:
Organization: BGSU
Location: Bowling Green, OH
How did you find our site?: Saw keynote at NWO Symposium 2013
Comment: I saw your keynote address at the 2013 NWO Symposium at BGSU and had some etymological thoughts on your critique that educators are facilitators. If the word facilitator comes from the Latin for "easy", and yet good instruction does not highlight the easiness of a topic (in your example of the May Flower exercise the teacher kept complicating the problem, to good effect). Thus, I propose that good educators are not facilitators, but rather we should use a new word, difficilators, from the Latin for "hard". Thus a good educator difficilates an instructional environment. And this is a good thing.



Posted On 11-02-2013 9:27 AM
Your Name: Alison Kinross
Email Address:
Location: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
How did you find our site?: I heard you on CBC Radio 1 this morning
Comment: Alfie Kohn, I can't thank you enough for your thoughts on CBC Radio this morning. I have recently graduated from university, and am slowly coming to terms with how useless my education has been, particularly from the beginning of high school until the end of my university education. This is because although I have usually managed to get the top mark, I have gradually learned to do this in the quickest way possible, which is a way that involves very little learning. So, I am emerging from university with an excellent transcript and resume (since most research positions are granted based on grades), and very little understanding to show for it. It's a real shame. Several times in high school and in university I recognized that I was getting by without learning very much, and I tried to change my behaviour. But this is very difficult when the whole system is set up to reward people for their grades - deciding to ignore my grades and focus on learning seemed as though it wouldn't lead to the opportunities that I wanted to have.

Posted On 10-10-2013 10:24 AM
Your Name: Carol Kirkstadt
Email Address: CarolK3140 at
Location: Loveland, CO
Comment: First, thanks for your book "The Schools our Children Deserve" ... I am trying to understand the issues surrounding Common Core and High-stakes testing and found your book very helpful.
I recently created two videos to try to get people interested in opposing this "reform" activity the first video is a overview with some specific charts for Colorado
The second is a poem "To the American School System"
I am hoping people will take the time to watch the videos and pass them on. We need to stop this "reform" effort.   Thanks, Carol K.

Posted On 10-06-2013 9:56 PM
Your Name: Amy Walker
Email Address: ficwriter79 AT
Organization: None
Location: Illinois
How did you find our site?: Frequent reader/guestbook signer
Comment: I find all of your articles to be especially hard-hitting, if depressing and anger-inducing for someone like me: unemployed and hopeless at the STEM subjects you write about in "STEM Sell". Nowadays, they seem to be the only skills and subject areas of any importance to employers. Thank you for bringing me hope and truth: that if you're stymied by science, terrified by technological concepts, eviscerated by engineering, and miserable at math, you are not worthless as a student or a human being. Bravo!

Posted On 10-04-2013 10:58 AM
Your Name: Stephanie Smith
Email Address:
Organization: DSI Inc
Location: United States
How did you find our site?: friend
Comment: this page is exactly what I was searching for! found your article bookmarked by a friend of mine. I will also bookmark it. thanks!

Posted On 09-23-2013 10:40 AM
Your Name: Randal Jones
Email Address:
Organization: Houston Independent School District
Location: Houston, TX
How did you find our site?: Saw it in Education Week
Comment: I read your piece in the Sept. 18 edition of Education Week. It was very timely because of the article that appeared in the Sept. 23rd edition of the Houston Chronicle entitled "2 Area Districts Reject Extra Testing". :


Although our legislature recently had the good sense to cut back on the number of tests that high school students must pass to graduate in Texas, there are still too  many being mandated by policy makers. More school based staff members are starting to heed your advice and being courageous enough just say no. Enough already.

Posted On 09-22-2013 9:33 PM
Your Name: Cynthia Nedich
Email Address: 2329 Ethan Way
Organization: Sacramento City Teacher
Location: Sacramento Ca
How did you find our site?: I googled Alfie Kohn in a desperate attempt to get satiated in the topics he writes and speaks about.
Comment: Yes! He is right. Now what do I do? Knowing he is correct on many if not all these issues, where will I teach?

Posted On 09-20-2013 7:15 PM
Your Name: Nobo Komagata
Email Address: 2013[AT]
Location: Ewing, NJ
How did you find our site?: Web search some time ago
Comment: Positive Behavior Support (PBS) is coming to my child's public elementary school.  As a concerned parent of the use of rewards in school and a fan of "Punished by Rewards," I wrote an essay to send to the principal and a district administrator.  If Mr. Kohn and/or anyone is interested in reading it and providing me comments/suggestions, I would really appreciate it.  The essay is available in the following two formats:

In addition, if anyone has an idea where I might want to submit it for additional circulation, I would appreciate it as well.
Thank you.

Posted On 09-16-2013 10:09 AM
Your Name: Inspire
Comment: I am so glad to see that I am not the only one that shares the same ideas as you! Honestly, I have tried telling students and teachers about how grades do not lead to better learning, and ultimately defeat the actual process of learning. But it seems like people are reluctant to understand this idea, or even listen to it. Some people are so much inside their box, that no matter how hard we try to change them, we cannot succeed (and believe me I have tried, just like you have :) ) if they themselves are not willing to change. I want to make people more aware of the fact that grades should be abolished. I still cannot believe that we are in the 21st century, and we are still facing this issue with grades. With a kind of mindset like that, we will go nowhere. I wish more people knew about your work and your ideas, Alfie Kohn.

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!


home | books | articles | A/V | schedule | topics | bio | guestbook | contact us | standards and testing | business -- Alfie Kohn