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Instead of Education: Ways to Help People do Things Better Paperback – October 1, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

This book turned my thinking upside down and changed the course of my life—it inspired me to let go of my career as a frustrated schoolteacher in favor of exploring and then advocating self-directed learning. As the homeschooling/unschooling population mushrooms, many fine books and other resources become available, but none replaces John Holt's visionary, revolutionary, attentive, and specific work, as radical now as it was 30 years ago. If you haven't read him, good chance you don't fully understand the depth or possibility of our movement. In Instead of Education, Holt addresses a huge question—how can people live and work more purposefully? In doing so, he tackles many medium-sized and smaller questions—What do schools really teach? What could libraries lend, in addition to books? Why do children seem happy in a particular school in Denmark? Throughout, his writing is—as usual—simultaneously reverent and scientific.
(Grace Llewellyn, author of The Teenage Liberation Handbook)

Reading this book again, like reading Maria Montessori, fills me with a certain sadness that such clear vision, brilliant insight and profound understanding of the needs of children should have been offered time and again, for so many years, to be so largely ignored. With our schooling situation growing ever more deplorable, the plight of our educationally abused children worsening day by day, Holt’s work is more critically needed than ever. He spells out the problem and its solution with such clarity and simplicity that any parent can read him and every parent should. We ignore his prophetic vision at our peril.

(Joseph Chilton Pearce)

In Instead of Education ($15.95, Sentient Publications, Boulder, CO) John Holt says that parents must save their children from schools of all kinds because they kill creativity and do a bad job teaching even the basics. In short, this is a book about home schooling, one of the fastest growing trends in the nation. Why? Because the entire educational system in America has been steadily 'dumbed down' since the 1960s. Holt has been a voice of common sense since the 1960s when his first book, How Children Fail, pointed out that you cannot force children to learn anything. Schools, since then, have been straight jackets into which both teachers and students are strapped by mandatory testing and, for seven million children, mind-altering drugs various 'educators' decided these children needed. His new book is packed with great ideas and examples of how to create learning opportunities and environments outside of the established educational structure. This is an important book that every parent should read.
(Bookviews.Com)

John Holt was a prophetic voice in the educational wilderness who vividly explained why our system of schooling often frustrates genuine learning. He made this case quite clearly indeed in his groundbreaking work Instead of Education. It is as radically relevant to the educational challenges of our generation as it was to his. (Ron Miller, author of What Are Schools For? Holistic Education in American Culture and publisher of Paths of Learning Magazine)

Be clear about this: Instead of Education, although less widely known than his more famous titles, is John Holt at the top of his game. If you are one of the millions of walking wounded still staggering from your own encounter with forced institutional schooling, and trying to spare your own kids from its damage, this book will be your guide and a good friend. (John Taylor Gatto, author, The Underground History of American Education)

About the Author

John Holt (1923-1985) writer, teacher, lecturer, and amateur musician, wrote ten books, including What Do I Do Monday?, How Children Learn, and How Children Fail. His work has been translated into fourteen languages and has become standards in the field of education. For years a leading figure in school reform, John Holt became increasingly interested in how children learn outside of school. The magazine he founded, Growing Without Schooling, continues to reflect his philosophy.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Sentient Publications; 2nd edition (October 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591810094
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591810094
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #667,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dorota Konowrocka on January 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
It's the sixth book of Holt I have read so far and probably the most syntetic; he outlines not only the problems but also the solutions. He has no mercy for knowing-better educators, T-eachers working not FOR, but ON students, S-chools full of fear and anxiety and humiliation, coercion, mindlessness, forced learning, carrot-and-stick attitude; and great appreciation for sensitive, competent t-eachers that are models themselves, self-directed do-ers and s-chools that are not compulsory and help their students to thing better on their own terms. Holt's radical vision is very clear, very understandable; his solutions so natural that they seem to be inevitable and not radical at all. His ability to deconstruct the mechanisms of human learning and expose the hidden curriculum of public schools and social system we live in is outstanding. The book is worth every minute you spend on reading.
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Format: Paperback
I have read a lot of Holt's books, but this is one of the best. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in schooling, education, and providing children and teens with quality experience. As a public school teacher, I can say every word in this rings with sheer brilliance. I disagree that school can cause injury or damage, but I do agree that the hours, years in school could be spent much more fruitfully, authentically, and enjoyably.
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Written after he worked out most of his ideas on education, this book is concise and brilliant, making John Holt's position on schooling so clear you can't help but agree with him! I am passionate about unschooling, and this book helps you formulate answers to the questions people will as you when they hear you are against compulsory schooling. If you like John Holt you will love this book, and if you've never read him, be prepared for something good!
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Instead Of Education: Ways To Help People Do Things Better by alternative education advocate John Holt (author of the 1964 book How Children Fail) is an iconoclastic and seminal work presenting a persuasively argued case for "un-schooling" from traditional classroom structures and curriculum fare, to innovative, self-directed learning as the basis for a truly creative life. A direct challenge to the complacency of today's educational status quo (even in this political age of "no child left behind" and school voucher proposals), Instead Of Education should be required reading in every Teacher's College, District School Board, and governmental education policy development office whether it be federal, state, or local. Instead Of Education is a significant and seminal contribution to education policy discussions and commended to the attention of education reform activists at all levels and from all perspectives.
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Education can mean pedagogy or schooling. By pedagogy I mean techniques of making people better at doing things, for example someone learning to weld or someone learning Ancient Greek. Schooling is the institution of schools that people must pass through. Being excellent at helping someone learn who wants to learn does not have much connection with being good at making people remember things when they don't care about remembering them but have to.
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Another amazing work by John Holt- great for anyone questioning the public education system or considering homeschooling or unschooling. SO worth the money- a lifechanger!
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This book is amazing. I've read in 3 times in as many years. Great book to read if you are unhappy with public/traditional schools. Has lots of information on ways people can learn outside of the traditional school environment. Helpful too if you homeschool your children or are considering doing so.
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