Voices in Education


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Letting Talent Flow A psychologist studying Head Start classrooms in the late 1960s noticed that the use of rewards by teachers seemed to have a perplexing, contradictory effect. In some classrooms, children were given treats to encourage them to play with learning games. The strategy worked. But when the treats were no longer available, the kids lost interest in the games. In other classrooms where no rewards were used, the children showed no such loss of interest in the very same games.
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The Case Against Rewards and Praise: A Conversation with Alfie Kohn Alfie Kohn's newest book, Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Starts, Incentive Plans, A's, Praise, and Other Bribes, details the destructive effects of rewards and questions many of the most common assumptions of teachers, parents, and employers about motivation. Kohn has also written No Contest: The Case Against Competition and The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Altruism and Empathy in Everyday Life. He writes frequently on human behavior and education and gives lectures and workshops for teachers. He was interviewed for the Harvard Education Letter by Sara-Ellen Amster.
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Forty Years after Brown, Cities and Suburbs Face a Rising Tide of Racial Isolation Forty years after a unanimous Supreme Court declared segregated schools "inherently unequal" 93 percent of the public school students in Hartford, Connecticut, are either African-American or Latino, and two-thirds are poor. Just four or five miles outside the city—six minutes down the highway—tare small suburban school districts where nearly all the students are non-Hispanic whites and few, if any, are poor.
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