Special Re-airing of an Interview with Alfie Kohn
Beyond the majority of narrow faith-based and traditional thinking about want motivates humans to learn about, and contribute to the world around them, what we find is that much of the way we presently educate and raise our children is based on beliefs that are simply false.
The traditional beliefs upon which we’ve built our entire system of education assume that unless children are threatened and/or bribed into learning they would never become able to contribute what society needs from them. The evidence however challenges this cynical view and suggests that human beings are natural learners born with an intrinsic drive to know their world around them and to contribute to it.
Despite this, in schools and homes everywhere, teachers and parents utilize ever intensifying extrinsic means of motivation – punishments and rewards – such as high stakes testing and cash incentives. The consequence of using such tactics is that we are disconnecting children from their natural inclination to be curious about their world – and greatly diminishing their chances of ever experiencing one of the most important benchmarks of living a fulfilling life – the life long joy of loving to learn.
Among those who have stood in firm opposition to harmful trends like the No Child Left Behind Act, the entire high stakes accountability movement in education, certainly the most outspoken has been Alfie Kohn.
In this 2006 interview with ETFF, Alfie Kohn discusses the latest of his eleven books at that time: THE HOMEWORK MYTH: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing.