CHOICES FOR CHILDREN:
From Coercion to Community
If we want students to take responsibility for their behavior and learning, it is up to us to give them responsibilities. Children learn to make good decisions by having the chance to decide about what happens to them every day — not by following someone else’s directions. Research shows unequivocally that students learn more effectively and care more about what they are learning when they have some say about what is going on. (By contrast, students, like adults, suffer from burnout when they feel powerless.) Alfie Kohn describes the whys and the hows of bringing students into the process of making decisions about everything from how their classroom will be decorated to how their learning will be assessed. Also included is a discussion of limits on children’s right to choose and teachers’ use of “pseudochoice” to perpetuate their own control.