The Underachieving School is a collection of essays and articles written and compiled by Holt, each brimming with inspiration and ideas on how to teach. The Underachieving School has 49 ratings and 8 reviews. Jacqueline said: Excellent, one of the best and most enjoyable nonfictions I’ve ever read. Incred. THE UNDERACHIEVING SCHOOL John Holt was born in New York City on 14 April He was educated at a number of schools in the States and at Le.

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There are many reasons for thinking they cannot. I once felt this was necessary in the interests of children. In his provocative book titled “The Underachieving School”, John Holt hits hard at the tyranny of testing, reading failures, and teachers who talk too much in the schools.

Mark Twain once said that a cat that sat on a hot stove lid would never sit on one again, but it would never sit on a cold one either. While Holt was an advocate of children having more rights and abilities to make schooll for themselves, he felt that the free school movement was not the answer to the question of how to fix the school system.

For many other kids, not going to college, school is just a useless time-wasting obstacle preventing them from earning needed money or doing some useful work, or even doing some true learning.

Schools are bad places for our kids, says John Holt in his book “The Underachieving School”

We make it almost certain to be the very opposite. After a few more years of teaching and some visiting professor positions at area universities, Holt wrote his next two books, The Underachieving School and What Do I Do Monday?

Lists with This Book. Increasingly, instead of developing the intellect, character, and potential of the students in their care, they are using them for their own purposes in a contest inspired by vanity and aimed at winning money and prestige.

The Underachieving School – Sentient Publications

If a teacher gives his students a test that allows them to show how much they know, they will all run out of time long before they have run out of things to say, and he will have hotl way to mark them except to give them all the same mark, which his bosses will not like. In my next class were many children who had had great trouble with schoolwork, particularly reading. From her first day in school this girl had been a model student.

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He will do the rest.

After she had been in the class six weeks or so and we had become good friends, I very tentatively suggested that, since she was a skilful rider and loved horses, she might like to read National Velvet. The first stems from the limitations of language.

Not the law as it is in books, but as he sees it and encounters it in his cases, his problems, his work. I gave vocabulary drills and quizzes too. What counts here and the only thing that counts, is what we know, what we think is important, what we Want you to do, think, and be.

But in large part, educators themselves are the source and cause of these pressures. Or we tell students something we think they ought to know – certain rules of grammar, facts about a place or an event, what a poem means, why this book is important, and so on.

Other children were playing in a house made of a very heavy cardboard called Tri-Wall – a fine school material, by the way.

The Underachieving School

Second, they would say that they have found from experience that it is the students with high mohn scores who have the best chance of staying in college. Email me on reply to my comment Email me when other CJs comment on this article. In the same way, let a student judge whether or not he will be able to do the work at a college. Somewhere we got the crazy notion that a class would learn most efficiently if everyone was learning the same thing at the same time.

Because he has this model, the child is aware of the existence of many things beyond those immediately before his senses. She had a son in the seventh grade johh a fairly good public school. In this, the child is given a number of miniature representations of cars, people, dishes, silverware, etc. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. This book lays out arguments about how schools fail children and mohn for what to do about it.

To keep kids in school who would rather not be there costs the schools an enormous amount of time and trouble, to say nothing of what it costs to repair the damage that these angry and resentful jlhn do whenever they get the chance. If the new educational reformers do not see more clearly than they do, it is not because they have not good eyes, but for two other reasons.


Nobody has ever hinted scuool their behavior might be a problem. All-in-one curricula Homeschool cooperative Unit studies. A question is supposed to direct our attention to a problem; to many or most children, it does the opposite – directs their attention away from the problem, and towards unferachieving complicated strategies for finding, or stealing, an answer.

Very similar to these are the tests people give themselves to check their own progress. A beer hall where Hitler made. I have by shcool been in a good many school buildings – hundreds, many of them very new, but I can count on the fingers on two hands those in which the halls were made more alive and human by art or decoration, of the children or anyone else – pictures, murals, sculpture.

We should abolish compulsory school attendance. Since the schools have been undderachieving the job of keeping all our children in prison for a certain number of hours each day, it follows that they must see that all the prisoners are in fact there, and if they are not there, know why not, and where they are instead.

Plenty of teachers do. Did he really think that the latter had nothing to do with the former? Yet if I were asked to write out all I hohn and understand about American history, it would take many pages – perhaps a book, perhaps several.

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The two are still in print and together they have sold over a million and a half copies unxerachieving have been translated into over 14 languages. You know who your enemy is. If the school becomes a resource to be used by the people who want it, there will be no need for such policing there either.

Once when substituting in schol first-grade class I thought that the children, who were just beginning to read and write, might enjoy some of the kind of free, nonstop writing that my fifth graders had. If what we want is sheep, our schools are perfect as they are. So much for complaints. What is one to conclude about their schokl to group? We think, and above all in the classroom, that almost any experience, insight, or understanding can be conveyed from one person to another by means of words.

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