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Against the Grain with Sasha Lilley - December 19, 2012 at 12:00pm

Against the Grain, for December 19, 2012 - 12:00pm

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Against the Grain with Sasha Lilley

Education critic Alfie Kohn discusses why tests, grades, homework, and even positive reinforcement don't serve true learning.

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One of the main collective

One of the main collective problems we face is not speaking the truth and not facing things as they are. "Education" does not exist to benefit the child but to benefit the collective will of society. Our society is based on competitiveness and coercion. We want children to be forced to do things they don't want to do. We want to discourage kids from reading, learning and, above all, to think critically. This is true, in my view, of not just schools systems, the corporate oligarchs and government but most parents as well. To change education we have to change our values and we can't change them or help them emerge into a higher moral sphere unless we face the fact of who we are and what this culture's goals are. Our goals are contrary to what we profess particularly in terms of education. We are lying to our kids and they know suspect it. By the end of high school, most of them just learn to live with reality and pretend it's something else.

The trouble is that while

The trouble is that while much identification of the problem is stated, still the resort is to the same structure. School is the opposite of education. People who work on the problem go back to remediation rather than to an integrated system wherein our lives are spent together learning, teaching, enjoying life - all of us doing what we need and like to do, together, as we choose - choice coming out of a rich society, us all together, no age segregation.

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