What to Look for in a Classroom: …and Other Essays. by Alfie Kohn. ISBN: 978-0-7879-5283-9. Paperback. 304 pages. February 2000.
From self-esteem to school uniforms, from grade inflation to character education, Kohn raises a series of provocative questions about the status quo in this collection of incisive essays. He challenges us to reconsider some of our most basic assumptions about children and education. Can good values really be instilledin students? What, if anything, lies behind the label of attention deficit disorder? Are there solid data to support our skepticism about watching TV? Might such allegedly enlightened practices as authentic assessment,logical consequences,and Total Quality educationturn out to be detrimental? Whether he is explaining why cooperative learning can be so threatening or why detracking is so fiercely opposed, Kohn offers a fresh, informed, and frequently disconcerting perspective on the major issues in education.
In the And, his critical examination of current practice is complemented by a vision of what schooling ought to be. Kohn argues for giving children more opportunity to participate in their own schooling, for transforming classrooms into caring communities, and for providing the kind of education that taps and nourishes children’s curiosity. Through all these essays, Kohn calls us back to our own ideals, showing us how we can be more effective at helping students to become good learners and good people.