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Learning All the Time

By (author) John Holt
Genres: Education
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Education Now Publishing Co-operative Ltd, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Published: 1st Jan 1991
Dimensions: w 129mm h 198mm
ISBN-10: 1871526043
ISBN-13: 9781871526042
Barcode No: 9781871526042

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Kirkus US
This posthumous book from radical educational reformist Holt, who died in 1985, applies the doctrine of his How Children Fail - "learning is not the product of teaching" - to learning in the home. All too often, Holt contends, parents and teachers eager to direct and correct young children teach them in ways that actually inhibit the children's naturally fierce appetite for knowledge. Children respond best, he thinks, not to categorical directives, constructive criticism, or even praise, but to serious attention and openness to their interests. In six brief chapters, Holt takes on reading-readiness programs, watered-down primers, pieces of pie to represent fractions, Piaget's theories of childhood learning, and the current bromide that if you can read this review, you should thank a teacher. Most of these are familiar targets, and there's little here that won't be familiar to readers of Holt's earlier books. Familiar, too, is the anecdotal, slightly disjointed approach to argument (exaggerated here by the publisher's need to assemble the book from sections left incomplete at the author's death), the repetitious examples, and the polemical, often curmudgeonly tone ("What those lists [of 500 reading readiness skills] could be made up of I cannot imagine and do not want to know. In a word, they are nonsense"). Critical readers may decide that Holt outlived the originality of his own theories. Yet the abuses he documents - schools functioning as assembly lines, laboratory mazes, or treatment facilities instead of resource centers - are all still there. Repetitious as his message may be, we still need to listen. (Kirkus Reviews)