Shifting Phases's Reviews > I Won't Learn from You!: The Role of Assent in Learning

I Won't Learn from You! by Herbert R. Kohl
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Kohl discusses the possibility that students sometimes choose not to learn things. It can be hard to tell the difference between a student who wants to learn and isn't getting the right support, and a student who is strategically choosing not to learn something, but both are possible. It brings up some (possibly unanswerable) questions about what "choice" actually is (choice in the face of coercion and choice in the face of lack of viable alternatives, as we so often see in schools, start to blur the definition). He begins by telling the story of his childhood decision to consciously avoid learning Hebrew. He goes on to explore the role of assent in learning.

p. 15: "Failure is characterized by the frustrated will to know, whereas not-learning involves the will to refuse knowledge. Failure results from a mismatch between what the learner wants to do and is able to do. ... the results of failure are most often a loss of self-confidence accompanied by a sense of inferiority and inadequacy. Not-learning produces thoroughly different effects. It tends to strengthen the will, clarify one's definition of self, reinforce self-discipline, and provide inner satisfaction. Not-learning can also get one in trouble if it results in defiance or a refusal to become socialized in ways that are sanctioned by dominant authority."

(may be caused by "challenges to her or his personal and family loyalties, integrity, and identity." Somebody needs to do some gender analysis about boys who get lower grades in school than girls yet somehow go on to be successful in larger numbers in the most selective and highest-paying jobs. Maybe schools aren't "failing boys," as some claim...)

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Reading Progress

July 8, 2011 – Shelved
Started Reading
July 9, 2011 – Finished Reading

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