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Document Type

Article in Response to Controversy

Abstract

In describing “the schools our children deserve,” Alfie Kohn focuses on “moving beyond traditional classrooms and tougher standards” (1999) to argue for a progressive re-invention of schools. Kohn’s book also prompts us to think about the teachers our children deserve. By implication, from Kohn’s argument, the teachers who would work in the schools he envisions must be prepared to give learners an active role, honor their thinking, and enable their questions to help shape curriculum. Drawing upon Dewey, Kohn positions teachers as orchestrators of democracy as they negotiate the challenges and interactions of daily classroom life. Such teachers see their classrooms as places where a “community of learners… engages in discovery and invention, reflection, and problem-solving” (Kohn, 1999, p. 3). They see their role as responding to the needs and interests of their students, taking their ideas seriously, and using the shared experiences of classroom activities as the foundation for thinking and learning.

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