Monday, January 19, 2009

How Children Fail

This is the second John Holt book I've read--all about education and education systems in America and how we've accidentally gotten it all wrong and how easy it can be to see how real learning works and how kids don't really need any of our posturing to learn things, and in fact it's almost impossible to teach them things that they're not interested in or that are not tied to daily life in a meaningful way.

However, I don't like this nearly as much as How Children Learn, in part because it has fewer helpful examples of how to let children learn, and more examples of what was happening in his math class (zzzzzzzzzzz). But mostly it's because he was born in 1927 and when he talks about handicapped children and the terror and horror, that really puts me off. He was trying to make a valid point about how we constantly constrict these people and it's very painful for them and how in a way we do the same to "normal" kids in school, but his language was not something I could handle. So there's my warning for this one.

Still, the man has some amazing and amazingly obvious insights into how schools get it wrong that I wish everyone could hear and heed. Amen, brother!

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