Alfie Kohn writes and speaks widely on human behavior, education, and parenting. The latest of his twelve books are FEEL-BAD EDUCATION...and Other Contrarian Essays on Children and Schooling (2011), THE HOMEWORK MYTH: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing (2006) and UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason (2005). Of his earlier titles, the best known are PUNISHED BY REWARDS: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes (1993), NO CONTEST: The Case Against Competition (1986), and THE SCHOOLS OUR CHILDREN DESERVE: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and "Tougher Standards" (1999).
Kohn has been described in Time magazine as "perhaps the country's most outspoken critic of education's fixation on grades [and] test scores." His criticisms of competition and rewards have helped to shape the thinking of educators -- as well as parents and managers -- across the country and abroad. Kohn has been featured on hundreds of TV and radio programs, including the "Today" show and two appearances on "Oprah"; he has been profiled in the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, while his work has been described and debated in many other leading publications.
Kohn lectures widely at universities and to school faculties, parent groups, and corporations. In addition to speaking at staff development seminars and keynoting national education conferences on a regular basis, he conducts workshops for teachers and administrators on various topics. Among them: "Motivation from the Inside Out: Rethinking Rewards, Assessment, and Learning" and "Beyond Bribes and Threats: Realistic Alternatives to Controlling Students' Behavior." The latter corresponds to his book BEYOND DISCIPLINE: From Compliance to Community (ASCD, 1996), which he describes as "a modest attempt to overthrow the entire field of classroom management."
Kohn's various books have been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, German, Italian, Swedish, Dutch, Bulgarian, Portuguese, Arabic, Hebrew, Thai, and Malaysian. He has also contributed to publications ranging from the Journal of Education to Ladies Home Journal, and from the Nation to the Harvard Business Review ("Why Incentive Plans Cannot Work"). His efforts to make research in human behavior accessible to a general audience have also been published in the Atlantic Monthly, Parents, and Psychology Today.
His many articles on education include a dozen widely reprinted essays in Phi Delta Kappan from 1991 to 2008. Among them: "Choices for Children: Why and How to Let Students Decide," "How Not to Teach Values: A Critical Look at Character Education," "Test Today, Privatize Tomorrow," and "Why Self-Discipline is Overrated." Kohn, the father of two children, lives (actually) in the Boston area. To book education speaker Alfie Kohn call Executive Speakers Bureau 901-754-9404.
Talks for Educators
- THE DEADLY EFFECTS OF "TOUGHER STANDARDS": Challenging High-Stakes Testing and Other Impediments to Learning
- PERFORMANCE VS. LEARNING: The Costs of Overemphasizing Achievement
- OVERHAULING THE TRANSMISSION MODEL
- ON BRIBING STUDENTS TO LEARN: Second Thoughts About A's, Praise, Stickers, and Contests
- CHOICES FOR CHILDREN: From Coercion to Community
- FROM DEGRADING TO DE-GRADING: Basic Questions About Assessment
- THE CASE AGAINST COMPETITION
- TEACHING CHILDREN TO CARE
- THE (PROGRESSIVE) SCHOOLS OUR CHILDREN DESERVE
- CHALLENGING STUDENTS . . . AND HOW TO HAVE MORE OF THEM
- THE HOMEWORK MYTH
Please note that this list is not exhaustive. Alfie Kohn also speaks about issues of particular concern to specific groups, such as those in the field of special education, Montessori teachers, college instructors, mentor teachers, reading specialists, school psychologists, and health educators -- as well as those concerned with multiage learning, multicultural education, authentic assessment, character education, teacher compensation, retention in grade, and other issues.
Longer Workshops for Educators
- MOTIVATION FROM THE INSIDE OUT: Rethinking Rewards, Assessment, and Learning
- THE DEADLY EFFECTS OF "TOUGHER STANDARDS"
- BEYOND BRIBES AND THREATS: Realistic Alternatives to Controlling Students’ Behavior
Talks for Parents
- UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING: Beyond Bribes and Threats
- RAISING REBELS: Helping Kids to Challenge the Status Quo
- PUSHED TOO HARD: Parenting in an Achievement-Crazy Culture
Other possible lectures involve adaptations of the presentations for educators listed above -- for example, what parents need to know about . . .
- homework: why there's no benefit to making kids work what amounts to a second shift, and what we can do to reclaim family time
- motivation to learn: why grades and other rewards prove counterproductive
- progressive education: why it makes more sense than traditional instruction
- competition: why all our children ultimately lose in the race to win - at home, at school, and at play.
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