A Q&A with Alfie KohnThere’s an epidemic of helicopter parenting. Young people today are narcissistic and suffer from inflated self-esteem. Kids need more experience with failure so they can learn to cope with the real world. Children need more self-discipline and “grit.” These are some of the conventional assumptions about children and parenting that have been uncritically accepted in our culture. In The Myth of the Spoiled Child: Coddled Kids, Helicopter Parents, and Other Phony Crises, now available in paperback, esteemed critic and lecturer Alfie Kohn debunks these beliefs and challenges us to reexamine this conservative ideology adopted often by liberal parents. We caught up Kohn to discuss these myths and how harmful they are to healthy child development.
It can’t be repeated often enough: Standardized tests are very poor measures of the intellectual capabilities that matter most, and that’s true because of how they’re designed, not just because of how they’re used. Like other writers, I’ve relied on arguments and research to make this point. But sometimes a telling example can be more effective. So here’s an item that appeared on the state high school math exam in Massachusetts:
Whether you’re an educator, activist, administrator, parent, or socially-engaged citizen, here are five progressive education titles to put on your personal syllabus this fall.
Do kids need better homework? How about no homework at all?
Out this week, Feel-Bad Education: And Other Contrarian Essays on Children and Schooling from one of the most outspoken and incisive thinkers in education, Alfie Kohn.