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Showing posts from April, 2018

Impressively wrong- why Alfie Kohn’s advice on running rooms is not great

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Enough is enough- it's time to stop taking bad advice about behaviour when children's futures are at stake


Years ago I waited tables in TGI Fridays, where they used to run competitions for staff to see who could sell the most sticky, smoky meat and goldfish bowls of margaritas. Until one day the good times stopped rolling and the managers decreed there would be no more. The reason? One of them had read a book: ‘Punished by rewards’, and claimed that it described how people shouldn’t be incentivised by something so gaudy as an incentive. The author was Alfie Kohn. Years later when I became a teacher I discovered his advice was following me around like eyes on a painting in Scooby Doo. Kohn has become one of the most influential writers in education. His books have found homes in libraries from Beirut to Bearsden. Sadly, rarely have trees been so needlessly pulped.

I frequently hear him described as a behaviour expert. But I find this strange, because surely one of the defining …