Willingham versus Kohn: an educational debate

I love Twitter because it is full of hyperlinks that have led me to discoveries that I would probably never have come across.

This morning I was looking through my Tweets when I came across a reply that I had following yesterday’s excellent (as usual) #edchat on Twitter. I always make a point of looking up the people who reply to me as it sometimes leads to me following them (and of course it is sometimes the reason why I certainly won’t follow them!).

I found a link in a Tweet that led me to look up a critique of the work of Alfie Kohn, a writer on education that I have been reading a lot recently (in fact I am presently reading his book “Punished By Rewards” which was lent to me by an educational psychologist).

I found the critique  http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2009/02/alfie-kohn-is-bad-for-you-and-dangerous-for-your-children/ interesting and could follow his argument but was interested to see that there was a hyperlink at the end to a rebuttal by Alfie Kohn http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2009/02/alfie-kohns-reply-to-daniel-willingham/

I read this rebuttal and then carried on to the comments at the end and this was really interesting. The comments section was an opportunity for people on both sides of the debate to put their points across. This section was well worth reading as it had the feel of a real debate with points for and against.

I have even entered the fray myself by posting a comment that said, at a time when my country (The U.K.) is about to set out on a general election campaign, it is really good to see the ability that our two democracies have to at least have a reasoned (and somewhat heated debate).

I would urge you to read Willingham’s original critique and the following defence and the comments as a whole. It took me some time but it did cover a lot of important points about the current educational debate relating to standards, styles of teaching, the value (or otherwise) of testing and homework. I know my position on these things, but feel that it is important to weigh up the points made by those whose views I oppose. I also feel it is important that we allow our pupils to have access to online debates such as the Willingham/Kohn debate in order for them to make up their minds on what direction they want to take education in the world of the future that they will run.

Well done to the Britannica Blog http://www.britannica.com/blogs/ for providing the forum for this debate. I was impressed with this and will be looking at the blog regularly now for more interesting articles and hopefully, debates.

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One Response

  1. What a Great blog!Kudos!

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