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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
12
Instead of Education: Ways to Help People do Things Better
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on June 16, 2013
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!
10 people found this helpful
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on May 5, 2011
A great eye opener on education. All those that are convinced that compulsory education is a solution open your mind and read this book.
3 people found this helpful
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on February 22, 2016
I'm on page 160. There is so much helpful advice from Mr. Holt.
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on December 6, 2009
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!
7 people found this helpful
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on April 12, 2015
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.
6 people found this helpful
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on June 27, 2015
Classic John Holt
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on May 4, 2015
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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on January 10, 2007
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.
61 people found this helpful
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on June 16, 2009
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.
26 people found this helpful
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This book by John Holt is one of the more idealistic works on education in the last 50 years or so. He accurately represents the problems facing modern education and has harsh words for its supporters. But his solutions for solving the problems seem very naive. It places a lot of trust in humanity's thirst for learning.

The truth is, we are naturally inquisitive, but also naturally lazy. Even Augustine, one of the greatest thinkers of the ancient world, admits in his Confessions that he would rather have been playing sports and chasing girls than learning. Also, having taught the great books to middle and high schoolers, I found that you can try to create the most open learning environment possible, but if the home environment these students are coming from is adversarial to learning, you will always have an uphill battle.

Finally, I disagree somewhat with his overall purpose of education. He states that it is to help us do things better. Huh? I don't know about you, but efficiency is not at the root of my love for learning. So the subtitle of the book just does not resonate with me.

All in all, this was an inspiring, idealistic book on education. I think it deserves a prominent place in the school reform dialogue. It helped me tremendously when I did research for my podcast, Chrisian With A Brain. In an episode titled, Why Do We Value Education?, Holt's perspective gave me much fodder for discussion.
17 people found this helpful
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