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How children fail (1995, Addison-Wesley Pub. Co.) 4 stars

A series of informal memos describing how typical grade-school pedagogy suppresses a child's innate desire …

Review of 'How children fail' on 'GoodReads'

4 stars

Pretty interesting book about Holt's experiences in the classroom. I really liked the notebook-esque format as well as the later commentary. As I was thinking about my own frustrations with work at the time, this seemed to also be a useful book about company management.



A few takeaways:

- "children fail because they are afraid, confused, and bored:" this seems like a pretty helpful framework, not only for thinking about the circumstances in which children disengage, but also for thinking about how adults lose motivation.

- the idea of "producers" vs. "thinkers." I see "producer" behavior frequently, even among adults, where people freeze up and stop thinking when they feel pressure to give the right answer. I do think that framing it as behaviors instead of character traits might be more helpful.

- John Holt's journey from "how can I make school work for these kids?" to "School sucks, kids …