Aggressive Nostalgia

October 25, 2023 Aggressive Nostalgia The Dark Side of Pining for the Good Old Days By Alfie Kohn “Time was when parents had their own authority about the rearing of children….There was no back talk and no nonsense….Today we have the child- centered home. In it there is little peace and quiet, and certainly not much respect for, or fear … Read More

Pay Attention, Class: Here Come More Facts for You to Forget

April 20, 2023 Pay Attention, Class: Here Come More Facts for You to Forget By Alfie Kohn A.P. European History was the best-reviewed class in my old high school. The teacher was a kindly man with an admirable devotion to his subject. Despite his skills, however, and despite the fact that I received an A, all that remained in my … Read More

The Caring Subversion of Nel Noddings: An Appreciation

March 13, 2023 The Caring Subversion of Nel Noddings: An Appreciation By Alfie Kohn My undergraduate mentor had a life-changing impact, both as a teacher and a human being, on innumerable students he taught over the course of nearly three decades.1 So on his 95th birthday about a hundred of us took a full day to tell him so. We … Read More

How to Prevent Social Change: A Handy Guide for Educators and Parents

February 28, 2023 How to Prevent Social Change:  A Handy Guide for Educators and Parents By Alfie Kohn If you’re the sort of person who prefers to perpetuate rather than challenge the status quo — or maybe just a fan of inequity — I have good news for you. Certain ways of raising and teaching children are actually much more … Read More

The Times Deeply Regrets These Errors

December 23, 2022 The Times Deeply Regrets These Errors By Alfie Kohn   Due to an editing error, an obituary on Saturday incorrectly described Thomas R. McKeown as having lived in Longfield, NJ. He actually lived in East Longfield. Additionally, Mr. McKeown has not yet died.   An account in Sunday’s Vows section of Elizabeth “Tipsy” Wagglesworth’s wedding to Maria … Read More

“Eduspeak” Reconsidered

November 3, 2022 “Eduspeak” Reconsidered When, Why, and to Whom Is Educational Jargon Annoying? By Alfie Kohn Over the years I’ve heard a lot of people complain — sometimes good-naturedly, sometimes with remarkable venom — about our field’s use of jargon. Eventually I began to wonder why “eduspeak” or “edspeak” (or, less charitably, “edu-babble”) vexes people so, and to what … Read More

Is It Enough for Learners to Be “Engaged”?

September 30, 2022 Is It Enough for Learners to Be “Engaged”? By Alfie Kohn “To enhance achievement, one must first learn how to engage students.” That challenge by Fred Newmann, emeritus professor of education at the University of Wisconsin,1 could serve as the motto for an entire movement by thoughtful theorists, researchers, and practitioners in the field. And it makes … Read More

When the Myth of Progress Unravels

May 16, 2022 When the Myth of Progress Unravels By Alfie Kohn The arc of history is long, but it bends toward catastrophic annihilation.              — Barbara Ehrenreich   The fact that five religious Supreme Court justices have eliminated women’s right to terminate a pregnancy — a protection representing “a half-century of progress toward a more equal society” — has … Read More

Last Time, the Religious Right Told Us Not Only What We Can Teach but How

April 29, 2022 Last Time, the Religious Right Told Us Not Only What We Can Teach but How to Teach It By Alfie Kohn Christian conservatives are banning books and censoring school curricula — and not for the first time. Materials dealing with sexuality and sexual orientation have always been popular targets for them; indeed, researchers have found that literally … Read More

Second Thoughts About Community and “Empathy”

January 11, 2022 Second Thoughts About Community and “Empathy” By Alfie Kohn We’re too quick to ascribe neutrality to things that actually aren’t neutral at all. Standardized tests, for example, don’t provide anything like an objective “snapshot” of teaching and learning. Not only are they best at measuring relatively trivial intellectual capabilities, but administering them influences what gets taught, thereby … Read More