Carrie's Reviews > How Children Learn

How Children Learn by John Holt
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Dec 18, 10

Read from October 21 to December 01, 2010

I have mixed opinions on this book.
1. I think John Holt is so intent upon conveying his message, that he paints all school teachers with the same brush.
2. I think John Holt is so intent upon conveying his message, that he paints all children with the same brush.
3. I disagree with both. I do not think that all teachers are controlling, commandeering, and out-of-touch with the needs of their students. I do not think that all children are as disinterested in and/or threatened by adult interference, as he very clearly makes the case for.

4. While I value child-led learning, I do not think that child-led learning is the only learning construct that is appropriate for young children. Indirect and even direct teaching can be wonderful for a child, even if they haven't sought you out for that express purpose.
5. In John Holt's view, teachers are only of use when they get out of the way or at least let the child lead activities. While I think that this is a huge part of great early childhood teaching, I also believe that learning can be scaffolded successfully, meaningfully, and happily in both unplanned and (gasp) planned activities.

Basically, I don't think I wasted my time for two years teaching in the early childhood classroom. But I also don't think I'm wasting my son's kindergarten year, during which he is mostly at home, doing art, writing, drawing, Playing! without interference from me. I think John Holt would applaud the latter and dismiss the former.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Sonja I checked this book out from the library to read and I'm SO GRATEFUL for your review. So eloquent, articulate, and helpful.

Miss you.


Carrie Hi Sonja! I was worried that I was too harsh. I thought the book was worthwhile---I'm not sure if I got that message across.
Miss you too.


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