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36 Children

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  221 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
A former teacher recalls his two years in a Harlem school. A new Introduction and a wide selection of stories, poetry, and drawings by the children are included.
Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 1st 1988 by Plume (first published 1967)
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Tlsmith
Nov 07, 2009 Tlsmith rated it it was amazing
Both of my parents went back to school to get their masters in education a few years ago. Besides having to help them with their term papers, they shared some of the books that they had to read for their classes with me. This was one of them. Its a book about a Harvard/Columbia educated middle school teacher in the mid 1960s. After asking too many questions at his previous school, Herbert Kohl is punished by being reassigned to a school in Harlem. He encounters a very diverse and unruly classroo ...more
Marianne Belotseyenko
Feb 16, 2008 Marianne Belotseyenko rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: educators and reformers.
Shelves: faves
36 Children is an account of a teacher in an inner-city HS in the 60's (NYC?), his classroom, and his attempts to reform. This book was not comlex, and the language was not always the best, however, it was moving in its message that there needs to be change, and it begins with one classroom at a time. I read this when I first started teaching in NYC, and it absolutely terrified me how a system is still structured to not allow for the success of young people, and although there are attempts to re ...more
Dave
Nov 15, 2007 Dave rated it it was amazing
This is the only story of a teacher who makes a difference that is at all believable. Kohl took real chances and never quit work to go do a lecture tour. he remained a teacher his whole life. He allowed students to make decisions about their own learning and always put his students first, before other teachers, administrators, and even his own career. Kohl is pissed. Definate recommendation to anyone who thinks you can't work within the system. (Although Kohl himself insists that you can't, but ...more
Maggie
Dec 04, 2015 Maggie rated it liked it
Shelves: teaching
Good, with good ideas, but probably would recommend other books about teaching before this one. Was probably more relevant in the 60s and 70s - though I'm sure the racial tension still exists and manifests today. Loved the children's stories.
Mark Feltskog
Aug 29, 2009 Mark Feltskog rated it it was amazing
For me (I was dealing with a particularly moronic administrator while I read it), the right book at the right time.
Shiri
Jul 29, 2008 Shiri rated it really liked it
Very good read for educators and who ever works with children. Never give up!
Lindsey
Nov 16, 2007 Lindsey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read for educators.
Julia
Nov 15, 2009 Julia rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is two years in the teaching life of a young impressionable Jewish kid from the Bronx teaching sixth grade in Harlem. He leaves after two years, not because he’s not making a difference, but because one year isn’t enough to help these children. And he taught them in 1963-65. The book came out in ’67. [I thought he got fired for teaching Langston Hughes, that was Kozol, but the truth is no one *cared* what he did or didn’t do with his students.:] ”…Now I am convinced that that system, which ...more
Sunny
Aug 22, 2014 Sunny rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, education
I thought this was quite insightful. Its about a teacher in the 60s ish who gets to teach a 6th grade class of black kids in Harlem New York. The relationship between him and the kids is tough to start up with but then he develops an incredible relationship with them that goes beyond the curriculum they are set. He started teaching them the most amazing and wide array of subjects and through his teaching brings them to life. A must read for any teacher I feel and very rewarding if you are a pare ...more
Elisabeth
Oct 08, 2012 Elisabeth rated it really liked it
This was a great, if not somewhat depressing, book. It was depressing in part because it deals with the American public school system, always under appreciated and underfunded. It's also an upsetting look at how little the educational system has changed since the mid-60s when this was written. It was also inspiring and rejuvenating as an educator.
Esther
Jan 23, 2014 Esther rated it really liked it
I read this book before I had ever entered public school. even as a student in a public school system, there was little connection, it seemed to me, between my own life and those of the children described in this book. Now, caught as we are in the ever constricting noose of standardized testing as our sole means of evaluation, it seems more relevant than ever.
Ken
Jan 17, 2009 Ken rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I absolutely hated this book! It made no sense at all. The author just babbles about nothing and just randomly talks about whatever is on his mind. I wouldn't recommend this book to my worst enemy!
Kelly
Oct 24, 2014 Kelly rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Hmm. I wanted more from this book. I didn't realize such a large part of this was the children's writing. This may sound quite shallow, but I kept comparing it to movies about teaching inner city kids. that's probably not fair, but there you go.
Laurie Kutil
Apr 15, 2013 Laurie Kutil rated it it was amazing
Quite a great story of a teacher trying to help kids in Harlem reach full potential. He also shared some of the stories they wrote too. Hard to put down.
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“Once teachers can forget how a class should be they can discover each year what it must be like with that specific class at that particular moment in their lives.” 2 likes
“The year had a logic of its own as does every school year, every class of children.” 0 likes
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