Friday, September 17, 2010

Alfie Kohn Interview with Dr. Ross Greene

Here is a fantastic interview with Alfie Kohn.

Some highlights:

  • There is a big difference between working with kids and doing things to kids.
  • Punishing and rewarding are not only ineffective but they are also counter-productive in raising children.
  • We get lost in finding new techniques to gain compliance from children, when we really need to be clear of our ultimate goal - help children become ethical, caring people.
  • Kids who get rewards and praise tend to be less generous than their peers. Self-interest trumps caring for others.
  • No kid ever benefits from punishment.
  • There is a big difference between control and structure. Highly structured learning environments need not be controlled from the top-down. Students need to play an active and democratic role in forming the structure of the classroom.
  • The more we focus on just compliance, the more we will shuffle through an endless product line of gimmicks and tricks that will never achieve our ultimate goals.
  • Time-outs, or more accurately Forcibly Isolated, classrooms no longer feel safe. These classrooms become conditional and we all lose from these kinds of traditional, punitive interventions.
  • Not much learning takes place in a classroom that is too quiet.
  • Our classroom management techniques can be quite effective, but we must ask "effective at what?"
  • Kids make good decisions by making decisions not following directions.
  • Unconditional acceptance is at the heart of any good classroom.
  • The best teachers are those who make the curriculum worth learning.
  • Punishment by any name, even consequences, ruptures the safe and caring alliance that must be nourished between teacher and student.
  • Punishment is less about solving problems and more about revenge and inflicting pain and suffering.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for the reminders. I tend to believe all of these things, but I have moments in my classroom when I fall back on old habits based mostly upon insecurity and a fear of looking incompetent as a teacher.

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  2. For me , Alfie Kohn is the why and Ross Greene is the how. The CPS - collaborative problem solving for schools is described in Ross Greene's book
    http://www.lostatschool.org/answers/index.htm

    see CPS videos , also for educators
    http://allankatz-parentingislearning.blogspot.com/2010/08/cps-videos.html

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  3. Thanks, I found Ross Greene's book about collaborative problem solving to be very helpful. It changed the way I interact with students in the classroom. Imposing adult ideas of control and power sometimes get in the way of creating meaningful opportunities for learning.

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  4. Has anyone tried to do CPS and have it work really????? I have and found that most children tell you what they think you want to hear and then do what they want to anyway.

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