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Book details of 'How Children Fail (Classics in Child Development)'

Cover of How Children Fail (Classics in Child Development)
TitleHow Children Fail (Classics in Child Development)
Author(s)John Caldwell Holt
PublishedSeptember 1995
PublisherPerseus Publishing
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Score: score: 3.0 ***--  Vote for this book

The Virtual Bookcase Reviews of 'How Children Fail (Classics in Child Development)':

Reviewer Rob Slade wrote:
This book shows over and over again that children *do* fail, but it says precious little about how. Throughout the loose collection of old teaching notes and observations, mechanisms and analysis are given, but there is little evidence to support them. Holt's primary contention seems to to be that fear, uncertainty and doubt; fostered by the "cold pricklies" of Transactional Analysis for Tots; lock children into known behaviours, even if they are known to be wrong. I have every sympathy with this view, but Holt's "research", if it can be called that, is far from compelling, particularly when compared with, say, that of Martin Seligman. Again, the author attempts to discourage teachers from "quashing" children by dumping on wrong answers. Holt, though, does exactly the same to the teachers he is addressing by pointing out that an inappropriate response to a child can be very damaging, but failing to show either what actions are appropriate, or how to determine, in advance, whether an action is good or bad. (The later "How Children Learn" [cf. BKHWCLRN.RVW] would be seen by many as filling the gap in positive suggestions, but it's major advice seems to be "don't teach".) copyright Robert M. Slade, 1995

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