Best Selling Audio Books by Alfie Kohn

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release date: Jul 26, 2016
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Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
One basic need all children have, educator Alfie Kohn argues, is to be loved unconditionally, to know that they will be accepted even if they screw up or fall short. Yet conventional approaches to parenting such as punishments (including "time-outs"), rewards (including positive reinforcement), and other forms of control teach children that they are loved only when they please us or impress us. Kohn cites a body of powerful, and largely unknown, research detailing the damage caused by leading children to believe they must earn our approval. That's precisely the message children derive from common discipline techniques, even though it's not the message most parents intend to send. More than just another book about discipline, Unconditional Parenting addresses the ways parents think about, feel about, and act with their children. It invites them to question their most basic assumptions about raising kids while offering a wealth of practical strategies for shifting from "doing to" to "working with" parenting-including how to replace praise with the unconditional support that children need to grow into healthy, caring, responsible people.
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release date: Jul 20, 2017
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Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, As, Praise, and Other Bribes
Our basic strategy for raising children, teaching students, and managing workers can be summed up in six words: Do this, and you'll get that. We dangle goodies (from candy bars to sales commissions) in front of people in the same way that we train the family pet. Unfortunately, attempts to manipulate people with incentives ultimately fail and even do lasting harm. Drawing from hundreds of studies, Kohn demonstrates that people actually do inferior work when they are enticed with money, grades, or other rewards. What's more, they tend to lose interest in whatever they have been manipulated with rewards to do. Over the years, this groundbreaking book has persuaded countless parents, teachers, and managers that rewards and punishments are actually two sides of the same coin, and it's a coin that doesn't buy very much. Kohn explains what it means to work with people instead of doing things to them-at home, at school, and at work. Seasoned with humor-and containing new studies and stories in an Afterword written for the book's revised edition-Punished by Rewards presents an argument unsettling to hear but impossible to dismiss.
release date: Jul 26, 2016
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Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
One basic need all children have, educator Alfie Kohn argues, is to be loved unconditionally, to know that they will be accepted even if they screw up or fall short. Yet conventional approaches to parenting such as punishments (including "time-outs"), rewards (including positive reinforcement), and other forms of control teach children that they are loved only when they please us or impress us. Kohn cites a body of powerful, and largely unknown, research detailing the damage caused by leading children to believe they must earn our approval. That's precisely the message children derive from common discipline techniques, even though it's not the message most parents intend to send. More than just another book about discipline, Unconditional Parenting addresses the ways parents think about, feel about, and act with their children. It invites them to question their most basic assumptions about raising kids while offering a wealth of practical strategies for shifting from "doing to" to "working with" parenting-including how to replace praise with the unconditional support that children need to grow into healthy, caring, responsible people.
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release date: Mar 25, 2014
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The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting
Somehow, deeply conservative assumptions about how children behave and how parents raise them have become the conventional wisdom in our society. It's widely assumed that parents are both permissive and overprotective, unable to set limits and afraid to let their kids fail. We're told that young people receive trophies, praise, and A's too easily, and suffer from inflated self-esteem and insufficient self-discipline. However, complaints about pushover parents and entitled kids are actually decades old and driven, it turns out, by ideology more than evidence. With the same lively, contrarian style of Alfie Kohn's bestselling books about rewards, competition, and traditional education, The Myth of the Spoiled Child systematically debunks the story that we hear with numbing regularity. Kohn uses humor, logic, and his familiarity with a vast range of social science data to challenge media-stoked fears of spoiling our children. He reveals that the major threat to healthy child development isn't parents who are too indulgent but those who are too controlling.
release date: Jul 20, 2017
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Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes

The basic strategy we use for raising children, teaching students, and managing workers can be summarized in six words: Do this and you'll get that. We dangle goodies (from candy bars to sales commissions) in front of people in much the same way we train the family pet.

Drawing on a wealth of psychological research, Alfie Kohn points the way to a more successful strategy based on working with people instead of doing things to them. "Do rewards motivate people?" asks Kohn. "Yes. They motivate people to get rewards." Seasoned with humor and familiar examples, Punished by Rewards presents an argument unsettling to hear but impossible to dismiss.

release date: Sep 01, 2000
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The Case Against Standardized Tests: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools
Our students are tested to an extent that is unprecedented in American history and unparalleled anywhere in the world. Politicians and businesspeople, determined to get tough with students and teachers, have increased the pressure to raise standardized test scores. Unfortunately, the effort to do so typically comes at the expense of more meaningful forms of learning.

That disturbing conclusion emerges from Alfie Kohn's devastating new indictment of standardized testing. Drawing from the latest research, he concisely explains just how little test results really tell us and just how harmful a test-driven curriculum can be. Written in a highly readable question-and-answer format, The Case Against Standardized Testing will help readers respond to common questions and challenges-showing, for example, that:

  • high scores often signify relatively superficial thinking
  • many of the leading tests were never intended to measure teaching or learning
  • a school that improves its test results may well have lowered its standards to do so
  • far from helping to "close the gap," the use of standardized testing is most damaging for low-income and minority students
  • as much as 90 percent of the variations in test scores among schools or states have nothing to do with the quality of instruction
  • far more meaningful measures of student learning-or school quality-are available.
Kohn's central message is that standardized tests are "not like the weather, something to which we must resign ourselves. . . . They are not a force of nature but a force of politics-and political decisions can be questioned, challenged, and ultimately reversed." The final section demonstrates how teachers, parents, and students can turn their frustration into action and successfully turn back the testing juggernaut in order to create classrooms that focus on learning.

Also available on Audiotape: The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools, read by Alfie Kohn.

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