Feel-Bad Education Review

I was perusing the library shelves three weeks ago and stumbled upon Feel-Bad Education: And other Contrarian Essays on Children and Schooling by Alfie Kohn. Sometimes you just get lucky and pick up a good book that way!

I definitely liked this book, if for no other reason than it being thought provoking. As with most books, there were parts about it that I didn't agree with, but that just made me come up with a counter argument which is very good for me to do! 

The organization of the book is short essays grouped together by topics:
1. Progressivism and Beyond
2. The Nuts and Bolts of Learning
3. Climate and Connections: How Does School Feel to the Students?
4. The Big Picture: Education Policy
5. Beyond Schools: Psychological Issues and Parenting

The book makes you think about how your child is being educated, either by you or by a school. Some points that I really found valuable were:

- Is it really a good idea to put our kids in the school system even when they hate their days there just because it's what we did? Does suffering through a bad school experience really need to be viewed as a right-of-passage?

- Why do the students not have more influence over what they are taught and how? Don't you pay more attention when you like what you're working on?

- Who defined cheating and is the current definition appropriate? Don't most of us learn by doing and seeing so don't we need the guidance and example of parents and teachers working with us to learn how to do something?

- And, don't our current education policies about how schools get money encourage kids to need to 'cheat' in order to achieve the definition of success we've created?

- How did the definition of education become synonymous to achieving high test scores? And why has the mission of education become to teach students how to become productive workers in the future?

Of course, I could go on and on with this list, but I'll let you read the book and come up with your own list of thought provoking questions! Maybe you'll share them with me?

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