The Tests Are Lousy, So How Could the Scores Be Meaningful?

Way before Waze, I listened to traffic reports on my car radio whenever I had to drive to the airport. Over time I came to realize that the information they broadcast was frequently wrong: I’d be caught in a jam on a highway that the radio had just told me was in good shape or, . . . (Read More)

Fame Is the Name of the Game

October 16, 2020 Fame Is the Name of the Game A Meditation on Why So Many People Dream of Being (or Even Just Meeting) Celebrities By Alfie Kohn Most people will never be famous, not even for fifteen minutes. Nevertheless, thanks largely to social media, the possibility of fame seems tantalizingly within reach to more folks today than ever before. ... Read More

All of Us Are Smarter Than Any of Us

September 23, 2020 All of Us Are Smarter Than Any of Us By Alfie Kohn The Western conception of the person as a bounded, unique, more or less integrated motivational and cognitive universe, a dynamic center of awareness, emotion, judgment, and action organized into a distinctive whole and set contrastively against both other such wholes and against its social and ... Read More

Out of Control

May 21, 2020 Out of Control Taking Liberties with Autonomy During a Pandemic By Alfie Kohn Warren Buffett famously commented that when the tide goes out, we can finally see who has been swimming naked. By the same token, when a pandemic arrives, we are confronted with a vivid display of just what kind of society we've really had all ... Read More

Autism and Behaviorism

January 21, 2020 Autism and Behaviorism New Research Adds to an Already Compelling Case Against ABA By Alfie Kohn When a common practice isn't necessary or useful even under presumably optimal conditions, it's time to question whether that practice makes sense at all. For example, if teachers don't need to give grades even in high school (and if eliminating grades ... Read More

How Not to Get a Standing Ovation at a Teachers’ Conference

October 24, 2019 How Not to Get a Standing Ovation at a Teachers' Conference Rueful Reflections of a Long-Time Presenter By Alfie Kohn After speaking to a group of educators about, say, the harmful effects of standardized testing -- and receiving an enthusiastic response -- I am likely to hear from some spoilsport in the audience who wonders why I ... Read More

It’s Time to Rethink Education Policy

October 15, 2019 It's Time to Rethink Education Policy: Advice for the Democratic Presidential Candidates By Alfie Kohn More than 50 million children attend public elementary or secondary school in the U.S. The fact that so many voters spend so much time thinking about what happens to their kids in school means that the topic of education -- specifically, what ... Read More


July 16, 2019 GENER(aliz)ATIONS By Alfie Kohn Sweeping generalizations about a huge group of people who share only the same race or ethnicity are widely viewed as offensive stereotypes. But sweeping generalizations about a huge group of people who share only their age (give or take a couple of decades)? Sure! Why not? Baby Boomers were originally lumped together based ... Read More

The Trouble(s) with College

May 22, 2019 The Trouble(s) with College Inequities in Admissions, Inadequacies in Teaching By Alfie Kohn In Annie Hall, we're reminded of the old joke in which a guest at a resort complains, "The food at this place is really terrible," prompting her friend to reply, "I know! And such small portions!" Which leads me to propose the collegiate version: ... Read More

Deconstructing “Scaffolding”

March 6, 2019 Deconstructing "Scaffolding" By Alfie Kohn It was the late Jerome Bruner and his colleagues who first thought to invoke the field of (building) construction in creating an educational metaphor. They described the process of providing learners with temporary support for what they can't yet do on their own as “scaffolding.”[1] It’s a nifty figure of speech, and ... Read More