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Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community (ASCD) Paperback – January 8, 2001

ISBN-13: 978-0130930507 ISBN-10: 0130930504

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Product Details

  • Series: ASCD
  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall (January 8, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0130930504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0130930507
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,325,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alfie Kohn is the author of many other books about education and human behavior, including Punished by Rewards, The Schools Our Children Deserve, and Unconditional Parenting. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

More About the Author

Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. He is the author of twelve books and hundreds of articles. Kohn has been described by Time Magazine as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades and test scores." He has appeared twice on "Oprah," as well as on "The Today Show," NPR's "Talk of the Nation," and on many other TV and radio programs. He spends much of his time speaking at education conferences, as well as to parent groups, school faculties, and researchers. Kohn lives (actually) in the Boston area - and (virtually) at www.alfiekohn.org.

Customer Reviews

Best book I've ever read in education, hands down.
Dave
This book helped me to stop and think about why I want the children to behave a certain way.
peyton@kuntrynet.com
I suppose this is what we would call a "necessary evil."
drumtalk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Robert M. Madden on April 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
To the reviewer who said Kohn has no experience: He was a teacher for several years. Secondary to be specific. He travels the country observing classrooms. This book was written in response to a)his own experience b)exhaustive research but mostly c)to answer the question of why certain classrooms he observed seemed to have "better" learners than others.

To reviewers who say there are no practical solutions within the book: True, with a huge but. Kohn says he does not want to give examples because there are no "right" answers. What he proposes is a philosophy, not a step by step process. He wants us to question our way of thinking. How can we question it if we are following Uncle Alfie's hand dandy instructions? To tell us what to do would undermine the whole premise of the book (telling is futile, doing and creating meaning are worthwhile). The "good" teacher, according to Kohn and this book, is one who is constantly questioning what is going on in their room and how it benefits the child. The "good" teacher is also one who believes the child should be worked with, not done to. When you think the ideas through, the "how"s should become clearer. He does give models, but I feel a book on more practicals would be helpful. People, unfortunately, want their hand held. Kohn should maybe reapply his thought of "addicted to rewards" with teachers who have always been told what to do and how to do it. But if he tells them what to do and they follow blindly, are they truly committed to it?

To reviewers who say he spends half of the book complaining: I would call it refuting at worst, getting us to question our current ways of thinking at best. I somewhat agree with the one reviewer who says Kohn sounds like a broken record. Yes, he has written the same thing before.
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By George Zee on February 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
The subtitle captures well the thrust of the book. Alfie Kohn continues to ask probing questions to challenge our assumptions and beliefs and prods us to see things from the child's perspective. Instead of being concerned with classroom management and control--getting children to do what we want, we should first ask, "What do children need?," and "How can we meet those needs?". Very often discipline problems arise, not, as it is commonly believed, out of the students' personal problems or the need for attention or power. Rather it is just because the adults' demands may be unreasonable, or the curriculum may be irrelevant. "When students are 'off task', our first response should be to ask, 'What's the task?'" (p.19). Coercion, use of punishment and rewards, any control measures are not achieving our common goals in fostering depth of understanding, independence of thinking, continuing motivation to learn and concern for others. Students should have their say, participate in making decisions, be given autonomy and responsibility. Students must feel cared about and be encouraged to care about others. Only caring relationships build community. Competition is the worst enemy. Suggestions on building community, solving problems together were given. Also answers to ten common objections. For educators who value democracy, this is a worhtwhile book.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By peyton@kuntrynet.com on December 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It offered me insights into classroom discipline that I had never considered. The most powerful statement made in the book--in my opinion-- is that, instead of wondering how to make children behave differently, we should be asking ourselves what we are doing to make them behave the way they are. Too often I make decisions solely for the purpose of being the "boss". This book helped me to stop and think about why I want the children to behave a certain way. I had a very difficult class a few years ago, and I wish I would have read this book prior to that time. However, during the reading, a lot of that class's problems made more sense to me!
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80 of 94 people found the following review helpful By drumtalk on May 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
In Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community, Alfie Kohn presents cogent criticism of the common strategies teachers use to control student behavior: rewards and punishment. Kohn made me question whether I ought to use such tactics, and made me hunger for a better way -- something not involving an insistence on control and compliance. Unfortunately, Beyond Discipline created a hunger without really satisfying it.

Kohn is right about rewards and penalties carrying a terrible price tag. They are both forms of manipulation, and leave little room for children to make authentic choices about what or how they will learn. Moreover, it is undoubtedly better for children to be motivated intrinsically to act kindly toward others, rather than just doing it to get praise and rewards and to avoid punishments. Getting compliance, in short, isn't much of an achievement.

So, the next logical question is, if a teacher jettisons rewards, penalties, and insisting on compliance, what will she replace them with? Obviously, "doing nothing" or "letting the students do whatever they please" would be unacceptable. We have to replace rules and bribes and threats with something, but what?

Kohn claims that traditional discipline methods are founded on the assumption that children are selfish and sinister, "that children will act generously only when reinforced for doing so, that people are motivated exclusively by self-interest" (page 8). Indeed, this assumption may be held by many traditional discipline programs. However, I personally don't use rewards and penalties as a result of any such assumption. In fact, like Kohn, I believe that children have a natural tendency toward empathy and generally want to help others.
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