Special Repeat: An Interview with Alfie Kohn

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.

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Show 253a: A Victory for Vengeance?: America’s Methods of Domination; Part One

A Victory for Vengeance?: America’s Methods of Domination; Part One

For more than 30 years now, the United States has taken a turn to the Right in how we organize our society. Prison populations have skyrocketed, prison sentences and anti-crime laws have become more and more draconian, torture has been used at home and abroad in the name of security, and the state has tightened its noose around those of us not in the upper classes… especially non-whites and the poor. Why has this occurred? What role has the rise in political Christianity played in the push for far right policies? Are there underlying reasons for this sad state of affairs beyond religion and the conservative politics of the Reagan/Bush era that are not even being talked about? And what can we do to make America more democratic, egalitarian and humanistic?

These are the questions we asked of journalists’ Sasha Abramsky, author of American Furies: Crime, Punishment and Vengeance in the Age of Mass Imprisonment and Kristian Williams, author of American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination and Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America.