Best Selling Kindle Books by Alfie Kohn

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release date: Mar 22, 2005
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Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
Most parenting guides begin with the question "How can we get kids to do what they're told?"--and then proceed to offer various techniques for controlling them. In this truly groundbreaking book, nationally respected educator Alfie Kohn begins instead by asking "What do kids need--and how can we meet those needs?" What follows from that question are ideas for working with children rather than doing things to them.
One basic need all children have, 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, though, 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. This is an eye-opening, paradigm-shattering book that will reconnect readers to their own best instincts and inspire them to become better parents.
release date: Sep 30, 1999
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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: Aug 15, 2006
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Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community, 10th Anniversary Edition

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.

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release date: Apr 03, 2007
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The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing
So why do we continue to administer this modern cod liver oil-or even demand a larger dose? Kohn's incisive analysis reveals how a set of misconceptions about learning and a misguided focus on competitiveness has left our kids with less free time, and our families with more conflict. Pointing to stories of parents who have fought back-and schools that have proved educational excellence is possible without homework-Kohn demonstrates how we can rethink what happens during and after school in order to rescue our families and our children's love of learning.
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release date: May 15, 2004
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What Does It Mean to Be Well Educated?: And More Essays on Standards, Grading, and Other Follies
Few writers ask us to question our fundamental assumptions about education as provocatively as Alfie Kohn. Time magazine has called him'perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores.' And the Washington Post says he is 'the most energetic and charismatic figure standing in the way of a major federal effort to make standardized curriculums and tests a fact of life in every U.S. school.'

In this new collection of essays, Kohn takes on some of the most important and controversial topics in education of the last few years. His central focus is on the real goals of education-a topic, he argues, that we systematically ignore while lavishing attention on misguided models of learning and counterproductive techniques of motivation.

The shift to talking about goals yields radical conclusions and wonderfully pungent essays that only Alfie Kohn could have written. From the title essay's challenge to conventional, conservative definitions of a good education to essays on standards and testing and grades that tally the severe educational costs of overemphasizing a narrow conception of achievement, Kohn boldly builds on his earlier work and writes for a wide audience.

Kohn's new book will be greeted with enthusiasm by his many readers and by any teacher or parent looking for a refreshing perspective on today's debates about schools.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
release date: Mar 25, 2014
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The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom about Children and Parenting
Somehow, a set of deeply conservative assumptions about children--what they're like and how they should be raised--have congealed into the conventional wisdom in our society. Parents are accused of being both permissive and overprotective, unwilling to set limits and afraid to let their kids fail. Young people, meanwhile, are routinely described as entitled and narcissistic...among other unflattering adjectives.

In The Myth of the Spoiled Child, Alfie Kohn systematically debunks these beliefs--not only challenging erroneous factual claims but also exposing the troubling ideology that underlies them. Complaints about pushover parents and coddled kids are hardly new, he shows, and there is no evidence that either phenomenon is especially widespread today--let alone more common than in previous generations. Moreover, new research reveals that helicopter parenting is quite rare and, surprisingly, may do more good than harm when it does occur. The major threat to healthy child development, John argues, is posed by parenting that is too controlling rather than too indulgent.

With the same lively, contrarian style that marked his influential books about rewards, competition, and education, Kohn relies on a vast collection of social science data, as well as on logic and humor, to challenge assertions that appear with numbing regularity in the popular press. These include claims that young people suffer from inflated self-esteem; that they receive trophies, praise, and As too easily; and that they would benefit from more self-discipline and "grit." These conservative beliefs are often accepted without question, even by people who are politically liberal. Kohn's invitation to reexamine our assumptions is particularly timely, then; his book has the potential to change our culture's conversation about kids and the people who raise them.
release date: Nov 19, 2013
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No Contest: The Case Against Competition
No Contest stands as the definitive critique of competition. Contrary to accepted wisdom, competition is not basic to human nature; it poisons our relationships and holds us back from doing our best. In this new edition, Alfie Kohn argues that the race to win turns all of us into losers.
release date: Sep 05, 2000
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The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and "Tougher Standards"
In this “lively, provocative and well-researched book” (Theodore Sizer), AlTe Kohn builds a powerful argument against the “back to basics” philosophy of teaching and simplistic demands to “raise the bar.” Drawing on stories from real classrooms and extensive research, Kohn shows parents, educators, and others interested in the debate how schools can help students explore ideas rather than filling them with forgettable facts and preparing them for standardized tests.
Here at last is a book that challenges the two dominant forces in American education: an aggressive nostalgia for traditional teaching (“If it was bad enough for me, it’s bad enough for my kids”) and a heavy-handed push for Tougher Standards.
release date: Aug 01, 2010
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Turning Points: 35 Visionaries in Education Tell Their Own Storires
Thirty-five visionary educators were asked: What was your schooling like? When did you realize that there is a need for an alternative approach? What have you done since to help realize that vision? What are you doing now? Turning Points is an anthology of their responses, a peek into the lives and journeys of these pioneering individuals who have-and are-transforming what it means to be a teacher, a student, and a life-long learner. "The [educators] we're looking for are those who say, "I want to work to change this system so others will be spared what was done to me." They have the compassion and the courage to shake up the status quo and denounce cruel traditions. They've mastered the art of negative learning and developed a commitment to making the world, or at least whatever part of it they come to inhabit, a better place than it was before they got there." Alfie Kohn, Education Week (adapted from the foreword)
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release date: Nov 10, 2014
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More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing

"Jesse Hagopian brought a rare moment of truth to the corporate-dominated Education Nation show when he spoke on behalf of his colleagues at Garfield High in Seattle. He instantly became the voice and face of the movement to stop pointless and punitive high-stakes testing."—Diane Ravitch, author of Reign of Terror

In cities across the country, students are walking out, parents are opting their children out, and teachers are rallying against the abuses of high-stakes standardized testing.

These are the stories—in their own words—of some of those who are defying the corporate education reformers and fueling a national movement to reclaim public education.

Alongside the voices of students, parents, teachers, and grassroots education activists, the book features renowned education researchers and advocates, including Nancy Carrlson-Paige, Karen Lewis, and Monty Neill.

Jesse Hagopian teaches history and is the Black Student Union adviser at Garfield High School, the site of the historic boycott of the MAP test in 2013. He is an associate editor of Rethinking Schools, and winner of the 2013 "Secondary School Teacher of Year" award from the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences. He is a contributing author to Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation and 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed US History, and writes regularly for Truthout, Black Agenda Report, and the Seattle Times Op-Ed page.

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