Don’t you love it when you find someone who not only shares your ideas but extends them in ways that challenge and make sense at the same time? I do.
I was recently introduced (in the virtual world) to educator Alfie Kohn. First, I listened to his book Punished by Rewards and am now listening to Unconditional Parenting. The bonus with both books is that Kohn narrates them, so the ideas come across exactly as he intended, and it sounds like he is presenting rather than reading. These books are great for both parents and teachers as well as others in any form of managerial role. I wish I’d had the opportunity of reading Kohn’s work before I became a teacher or a parent for the joy it would have given me in sharing and affirming ideas.
If you are a teacher or parent who questions the real value of offering children stars or stickers in the hope of motivating them or of grading the work they turn in, you will find much of interest in Kohn’s work. You could begin by exploring his website or dive straight into his articles and books as I did.
Here is an interview he did on Oprah in 2013 about his book Punished by Rewards. It includes some interesting perspectives from teachers and parents with whom you may or may not agree.
And here are five Alfie Kohn quotes that inspire me, have me nodding in agreement or challenge my thinking.
“If children feel safe, they can take risks, ask questions, make mistakes, learn to trust, share their feelings, and grow.”
“Children learn how to make good decisions by making decisions, not by following directions.”
“In outstanding classrooms, teachers do more listening than talking, and students do more talking than listening. Terrific teachers often have teeth marks on their tongues.”
“Whoever said there’s no such thing as a stupid question never looked carefully at a standardized test.”
“It’s not just that humiliating people, of any age, is a nasty and disrespectful way of treating them. It’s that humiliation, like other forms of punishment, is counterproductive. ‘Doing to’ strategies — as opposed to those that might be described as ‘working with’ — can never achieve any result beyond temporary compliance, and it does so at a disturbing cost.”
Let me know in the comments if you’ve read any of Kohn’s books and what you think of these ideas. Which of them do you most agree with? Which do you find most challenging?
New phonics resources
I have been working on some new resources for teaching the letter names and sounds, focusing on the initial sound in words. So far, I have made resources for s, a, t, p, i and n, which are often the first sounds that teachers teach.
You can find them all in the phonics collection.
Updated calendars of days and events
Last year, the lists of days and events to celebrate in the classroom were very popular. I have been updating them for this year as the dates often change from year to year. So far I have updated:
A Year of Days and Events to Celebrate in the Classroom (an overview of the year)
I will be updating the other months as the year progresses. These can all be found in the Classroom Management (free) collection.
Remember to check out the complete readilearn collection of
over 450 teaching resources for the first three years of school
Resources beyond worksheets – lessons for teachers made by teachers.
Let readilearn lighten your workload.
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