Best Alfie Kohn books

Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason

Alfie Kohn

Best price for this book: $ 5.27

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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.

Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes

Alfie Kohn

Best price for this book: $ 5.09

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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.

Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community

Alfie Kohn

Best price for this book: $ 10.99

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In this 10th anniversary edition of an ASCD best seller, author Alfie Kohn reflects on his revolutionary ideas in the context of today's emphasis on school accountability and high-stakes testing. Find out how his innovative approach- where teachers learn to work with students, rather than do things to them-has withstood the test of time and helped educators create positive learning environments that prevent discipline problems from occurring. Using examples of real teachers dealing with common behavior problems, Kohn explains Why classroom management approaches that rely on rewards and punishments actually prolong behavior problems. How to turn misbehavior into teaching opportunities. Why changing your curriculum can solve discipline problems.

The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing

Alfie Kohn

Best price for this book: $ 9.74

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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.

The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and "Tougher Standards"

Alfie Kohn

Best price for this book: $ 3.26

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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.

The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Coddled Kids, Helicopter Parents, and Other Phony Crises

Alfie Kohn

Best price for this book: $ 7.9

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A prominent and esteemed critic challenges widely held beliefs about children and parenting, revealing that underlying each myth is a deeply conservative ideology that is, ironically, often adopted by liberal parents.

Somehow a set of deeply conservative assumptions about children—what they’re like and how they should be raised—has 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. 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, Kohn argues, is 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 and are often accepted uncritically, even by people who are politically liberal. These include claims that young people

   • suffer from inflated self-esteem
   • are entitled and narcissistic
   • receive trophies, praise, and A’s too easily
   • are in need of more self-discipline and “grit”

Kohn’s invitation to reexamine these and other assumptions is particularly timely; his book has the potential to change our culture’s conversation about kids and the people who raise them.

No Contest: The Case Against Competition

Alfie Kohn

Best price for this book: $ 9

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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.

Schooling Beyond Measure and Other Unorthodox Essays About Education

Alfie Kohn

Best price for this book: $ 20.04

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In this collection of provocative articles and blog posts originally published between 2010 and 2014, Alfie Kohn challenges the conventional wisdom about topics ranging from how low-income children are taught, to whether American schools have really fallen behind those in other countries. Why, he asks, do we assume learning can be reduced to numerical data? What leads us to believe that "standards-based" grading will eliminate the inherent limitations of marks? Or that training students to show more "grit" makes sense if the real trouble is with the tasks they've been given to do?

Kohn's analytical style-incisive yet accessible-is brought to bear on big-picture policy issues as well as small-scale classroom interactions. He looks carefully at research about homework, play, the supposed benefits of practice, parent involvement in education, and summer learning loss-discovering in each case that what we've been led to believe doesn't always match what the studies actually say. Kohn challenges us to reconsider the goals that underlie our methods, to explore the often troubling values that inform talk about everything from the disproportionate enthusiasm for STEM subjects to claims made for more "effective" teaching strategies.

During these dark days in which teachers are viewed as expendable test-prep technicians, and "global economic competitiveness" eclipses what children need, Kohn calls for us to summon the courage to act on what we already know makes sense.

Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. The author of thirteen books and scores of articles, he lectures at education conferences and universities as well as to parent groups and corporations. Kohn's criticisms of competition and rewards have been widely discussed and debated, and he has been described in Time magazine as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores."

The Case Against Standardized Testing: Raising the Scores, Ruining the Schools

Alfie Kohn

Best price for this book: $ 8

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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.

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind

Daniel J. Siegel

Best price for this book: $ 7.29

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The authors of No-Drama Discipline and The Yes Brain explain the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures in this pioneering, practical book.
 
“Simple, smart, and effective solutions to your child’s struggles.”—Harvey Karp, M.D.
 
In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and author of the bestselling Mindsight, and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson offer a revolutionary approach to child rearing with twelve key strategies that foster healthy brain development, leading to calmer, happier children. The authors explain—and make accessible—the new science of how a child’s brain is wired and how it matures. The “upstairs brain,” which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-twenties. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain. No wonder kids throw tantrums, fight, or sulk in silence. By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child’s brain and foster vital growth.            
 
Complete with age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.
 
“[A] useful child-rearing resource for the entire family . . . The authors include a fair amount of brain science, but they present it for both adult and child audiences.”—Kirkus Reviews
 
“Strategies for getting a youngster to chill out [with] compassion.”—The Washington Post
 
“This erudite, tender, and funny book is filled with fresh ideas based on the latest neuroscience research. I urge all parents who want kind, happy, and emotionally healthy kids to read The Whole-Brain Child. This is my new baby gift.”—Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of Reviving Ophelia and The Shelter of Each Other

“Gives parents and teachers ideas to get all parts of a healthy child’s brain working together.”—Parent to Parent