Title: Beyond Discipline
Author: Alfie Kohn
Review: Wow this was different; everything I have read about classroom management has involved a token economy or some other type of reward and non-reward concept. This book on the other hand discusses how students can contribute to the classroom and not need constant reinforcement for good behavior and nothing for bad…or office referrals etc. I loved that it really looks like this could work…the teacher just has to be willing to give up the illusion of control. Because if you really think about it we never have control over another unless we hold all the power and as a teacher you never want to hold all the power, you need to build positive relationships and as such you cannot be a dictator in anyway.
Letting the students work out their own problems is a great plan, yes it will take time for them to learn how to do this, but they will need this skill in the future. Jobs are going to pay you for the work you do, but it isn't always going to be fun just like school. Learning to learn for learning sake is what we want kids to do, so letting them drive the class seems reasonable. Constructivism follows this course, student-centered learning where the teacher is a guide on the side, not the expert, sage on the stage or the dictator.
It will take work to make a classroom student centered, but happier student’s means more productive students and that would lead to a more positive environment where the students would want to be…that is close to learning for learning’s sake. We want to build strong leaders for the future, we don’t want ones that need constant positive reinforcements and constant carrots or they will never be able to think and act for themselves. Making choices and following through with those choices make us feel good about ourselves, our work and our lives. Lets get kids to feel the same way…no one likes being told what to do…not you and not students.
Published: Published August 1st 2006 by Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development
Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Where I Obtained the Book: Purchased at Amazon.
Synopsis: What is most remarkable about the assortment of discipline programs on the market today is the number of fundamental assumptions they seem to share. Some may advocate the use of carrots rather than sticks; some may refer to punishments as logical consequences. But virtually all take for granted that the teacher must be in control of the classroom, and that what we need are strategies to get students to comply with the adult s expectations.
Alfie Kohn challenged these widely accepted premises, and with them the very idea of classroom management, when the original edition of Beyond Discipline was published in 1996. Since then, his path-breaking book has invited hundreds of thousands of educators to question the assumption that problems in the classroom are always the fault of students who don t do what they re told; instead, it may be necessary to reconsider what it is that they ve been told to do--or to learn. Kohn shows how a fundamentally cynical view of children underlies the belief that we must tell them exactly how we expect them to behave and then offer positive reinforcement when they obey.
Just as memorizing someone else s right answers fails to promote students intellectual development, so does complying with someone else s expectations for how to act fail to help students develop socially or morally. Kohn contrasts the idea of discipline, in which things are done to students to control their behavior, with an approach in which we work with students to create caring communities where decisions are made together.
Beyond Discipline has earned the status of an education classic, a vital alternative to all the traditional manuals that consist of techniques for imposing control. For this 10th anniversary edition, Kohn adds a new afterword that expands on the book s central themes and responds to questions from readers. Packed with stories from real classrooms around the country, seasoned with humor and grounded in a vision as practical as it is optimistic, Beyond Discipline shows how students are most likely to flourish in schools that have moved toward collaborative problem solving--and beyond discipline.
Author Biography: Alfie Kohn is the author of many other books about education and human behavior, including Punished by Rewards, The Schools Our Children Deserve, and Unconditional Parenting. A former teacher, he now works with educators and parents across the United States and maintains a Web site.