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Coloring Outside the Lines Paperback – August 21, 2001
Parenting in a complicated world
Strategies to help you be the best parent you can be. See more
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About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Schank, a pioneer in cognitive psychology and computer learning, introduces the concepts of dynamic memory, case-based reasoning and scripts, and plays up the importance of computer simulations, role play and field trips. He draws heavily -- almost narcissistically -- on examples from his own children and parenting experiences, sometimes detracting from their utility or universality. For instance, he says parents and teenagers should take walks and long bus rides so they can converse. Huh? The author relates the story of how he and his teenage daughter, given the time and isolation of these activities, achieved better communication. What about a car trip? Plane? Blimp? Camping? He thinks kids should run for office, participate in sports and go to summer camp, whether or not they want to. Sometimes he makes the case, but again his examples and reasoning are so self-centered that one wonders how generalizable they are.
The author posits that most students do not need to be taught math or literature, but do need history and science that is limited to nutrition, health and reproduction. Here the author does a fine job of forcing you to re-evaluate your assumptions about education, but I didn't always agree with his conclusions.Read more ›
Roger Schank doesn't accuse teachers of trying to squelch children's interests or administrators of being bad people, but he does point out that the way the school system teaches is completely outdated and unintentionally destroys children's eagerness and passion for learning. To raise a truly intelligent child, Schank says, parents must take charge personally. They must work to undue the damage school does to a child, and to instill positive character traits in a child that will help him develop true intelligence: verbal ability, analytical ability, gumption, inquisitiveness, creativity, and ambition. There are simple (and not-so-simple) ways parents can do this, and Schank dedicates his book to telling us how we can help our children and also WHY we should take charge. He stresses that it isn't easy being a parent and it's even harder parenting a "smarter kid" -- but the goal is a child who knows who she is and finds herself as an adult in a happy and successful situation, doing something she loves and excells at. Isn't that a worthy ambition?
Altogether, COLORING OUTSIDE THE LINES is an eye-opening look at education in our country and the future of our kids -- well worth the time to read and put into practice.
I don't care for his writing style. Although he knows a lot of the concrete research, he puts it aside in order to tell us what worked with his two children. It comes off as narrow-sighted and arrogant. He extrapolates from "what works for my two children" to "this is what everyone should do". At the same time, I agree with most of what he believes about natural learning.
My biggest complaint with him is that the entire book is set up to explain how damaging schools are to children and how parents can undo that damage with the little time they have at home with their children. He constantly and almost-wholly bashes schools, teachers, curriculum, etc., but explicitly dismisses homeschooling as an extreme option. He has the attitude that "school was damaging to my children, but I did a, b, and c, and they survived intact, so you should, too." One of the tactics he used to get better services for his children (a change in teacher, for example) was to throw around his professional clout. He needs to step out of his isolated academic environment to hear stories from all the parents who *try and try and try* to get services for their children and don't get results because they lack that clout....or inner city or rural parents who don't *have* choices....or parents of children with learning disabilities. I kept thinking how delusional he is to think that parents can change the system--even for their one child. Maybe 30-40 years ago in small suburban districts, but not anymore.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the worst parenting books I have ever read. I am not exaggerating to make a point. Truly. I have no idea how this got published.
Don't get me wrong. Read more
I tend to agree with most of the points that Roger Schank makes in his book. Specifically, I completely agree with him that schools tend to turn students into non-creative... Read morePublished on May 11, 2011 by bronx book nerd
Roger Schank clearly thinks of himself as a straight-shooting, tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy. This is not a politically correct book, and I did find it a bit offensive that he... Read morePublished on December 30, 2009 by J. Caritas
I agree with one of the previous reviewers about alternately loving and being thoroughly annoyed by this book. One the one hand, I completely agree with Dr. Read morePublished on October 20, 2007 by CrimsonGirl
Although I enjoyed reading the book and agreed with most of its premises, I was disappointed by the lack of references on the research backing up his recommendations. Read morePublished on February 23, 2007 by Augusto Morais
Schank bravely asserts some concepts that might tick people off, but the book is very well written and insightful. Highly recommended to all parents.Published on January 11, 2005 by yogagirl
Once you get past the self-aggrandizing author and his countless efforts to appear as an "expert" in child rearing and learning, he has some interesting points. Read morePublished on July 10, 2004 by For the love of art journaling
while i found the book generally interesting, it was quite apparent the author has a difficult time relating his ideas to the more common amongst us. Read morePublished on September 12, 2002 by jeff macdonald