Feel-Bad Education by Alfie Kohn

The four years that students spend in high school are excellent preparation for the real world—assuming that they plan to live in a totalitarian society. To the detriment of students as well as teachers, most American high schools continue to embody the sort of traditional, and antidemocratic, practices that I call into question in Feel-Bad Education: And Other Contrarian Essays on Children and Schooling.

In this new book, as in my earlier work, I try to ask the radical questions—by which I mean those that get to the root of what we’re doing rather than looking for ways to tweak the status quo. For example, why do most 15-year-olds have less to say about how they spend their time in school (what they’re learning, and how, and when, and with whom) than do most 5-year-olds in kindergarten? Why do high schools seem designed to make sure that kids won’t feel part of a caring community and won’t really come to know, or be known by, any adults? (more…)