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

The Progressive Teacher’s Role in the Classroom

May 3, 2021 The Progressive Teacher's Role in the Classroom What Active Adult Involvement Does and Doesn't Entail By Alfie Kohn According to Michael Harrington and many other scholars, a careful reading of Marx's work makes it clear that he "regarded democracy as the essence of socialism." Soviet-style Communism, by contrast, corrupted socialism "by equating it with a totalitarian denial ... Read More

The Value of Negative Learning (#)

EDUCATION WEEK September 16, 2009 The Value of Negative Learning How Traditional Education Can Produce Nontraditional Educators By Alfie Kohn I recently spent a delightful few hours devouring 27 autobiographical essays written by alternative educators from around the world.   Collectively, these people had founded schools, magazines, and entire movements, helping to promote all manner of nontraditional learning.  What fascinated me ... Read More

Progressive Education (#)

INDEPENDENT SCHOOL Spring 2008 Progressive Education Why It’s Hard to Beat, But Also Hard to Find By Alfie Kohn RELATED PUBLICATIONS: * "What to Look for in a Classroom" (table) * "A Dozen Basic Guidelines for Educators" (list) * "The Trouble with Pure Freedom" (lecture) * "The Back-to-School-Night Speech We'd Like to Hear" (fantasy presentation)   If progressive education doesn’t lend itself to a ... Read More

The Trouble with Pure Freedom: A Case for Active Adult Involvement in Progressive Education

Alternative Education Resource Organization [AERO]  Conference Keynote address, 2005 The Trouble with Pure Freedom A Case for Active Adult Involvement in Progressive Education By Alfie Kohn This transcript of Kohn's talk was published in The Directory of Democratic Education, 2nd ed., edited by Dana M. Bennis and Isaac R. Graves. A video of the lecture is available here. In his opening comments, which ... Read More

The (Progressive) Schools Our Children Deserve

SCHOOLS: Studies in Education Fall 2005 The (Progressive) Schools Our Children Deserve By Alfie Kohn [This is a transcript of the keynote address for a conference on progressive education sponsored by the School in Rose Valley and held at Swarthmore College on October 7, 2004.] I’m delighted to be with what I will presumptuously assume is a friendly crowd, such ... Read More

Feel-Bad Education: The Cult of Rigor and the Loss of Joy (#)

EDUCATION WEEK September 15, 2004 Feel-Bad Education The Cult of Rigor and the Loss of Joy By Alfie Kohn "Why are our schools not places of joy?" This question, posed by John Goodlad exactly 20 years ago, was both a summary of his landmark study of American classrooms and a plea for his readers to realize that a place called ... Read More

In Defense of the Progressive School

INDEPENDENT SCHOOL Fall 1999 Vol. 59, No. 1 In Defense of the Progressive School An Interview with Alfie Kohn By Kitty Thuermer A former teacher turned author and lecturer, Alfie Kohn was recently described by Timemagazine as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores." We would add to this list "outspoken critic of our ... Read More

What to Look for in a Classroom (*)

 EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP September 1996 What to Look for in a Classroom By Alfie Kohn An earlier version of this chart was published in the September 1996 issue of Educational Leadership, and reprinted as the title essay in the anthology What to Look for in a Classroom...And Other Essays. This revised version appeared as Appendix B of The Schools Our Children Deserve. Copyright ... Read More

Changing Education from the Inside Out

May 1993 Changing Education from the Inside Out Four Books from the 1990s Illuminate Progressive Schooling By Alfie Kohn [NOTE:  This review-essay was never published. You may judge for yourself whether it - and the books under review - are still relevant several decades later.]   EDUCATION AS ADVENTURE: Lessons from the Second Grade. By John G. Nicholls and Susan ... Read More